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An early film from director George Lucas that chronicles the making of Francis Ford Coppola's The Rain People', Lucas goes on the road with the crew and documents the processes and troubles involved in the making of the film. Starting off with shots of the cast in rehearsals with Francis, then heading off through the countryside as the cast and crew travel to the different locations. Lucas focuses his film on Francis and mostly just chronicles the process of daily filming, using narration from the different crew to explain the problems they had making a low budget film. One of the most interesting points of the film is its depiction of the new wave of filmmaking, as the equipment was now lightweight it was easy to break away from the studio backlots and go out on the road. This gave directors a new sense of freedom which Lucas's film captures perfectly. The cast and crew travel around in cars and had problems when parts of their convoy would get lost. Lucas manages to capture the spontaneity of low budget filming and shows Francis rewriting the script to include a local parade that's happening in town. Francis is show arguing on the phone with the Directors Guild about their insistence that he take along an extra assistant director, which he vocally disagrees with. Afterwards he claims that the current system will be brought down by its own weight. One of the highlights of the film is seeing Francis without his beard, Lucas explains in his narration that everyone had to get their hair cut to look presentable on the road so they would be aloud to shoot in the towns they came to. Francis looks unrecognisable without his beard. It's an informal film and shows that Lucas was in tight with Francis as he's allowed access to everything, while his direction is laid back but also reveals a lot about the making of this underrated film.
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
This early George Lucas film is identified in the opening credits as a "diary" and it follows the making of Francis Ford Coppola's THE RAIN PEOPLE. If you've seen HEARTS OF DARKNESS then you'll notice that this much earlier film follows the same process as we see Coppola working behind the scenes with the actors and the production while also narrating his thoughts on filmmaking and the process of dealing with actors, the studio and other demands.
FILMMAKER isn't a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but it's a very well-made movie and it's certainly worth watching if you're a fan of Coppola. As I said, this film almost seems like an earlier version of HEARTS OF DARKNESS, although there appears to be a little less stress here and of course no Marlon Brando to deal with. The film gives you a wonderful look at what Coppola was dealing with and there are some very funny moments including one where he's frustrated that the DGA forced a co-director on him.
At just thirty-two minutes there's nothing ground-breaking here but if you're a fan of Coppola then it's a must see.
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