Star Wars IV: A New Hope
Director: George Lucas. Producer: Gary Kurtz. Screenplay: George Lucas. Starring: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi), Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin), David Prowse (Darth Vader), James Earl Jones (voice of Darth Vader), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca). Music: John Williams. Cinematography: Gilbert Taylor, BSC. Editor: Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas & Richard Chew. Studio: Lucasfilm. Distributor: 20th Century Fox. 125 mins, 1977
Long ago in a galaxy far away . . .
There have been a number of analyses of Star Wars including this typically Marxist one from Fredric Jameson:
This particular practice of pastiche is not high-cultural but very much within mass culture, and it is generally known as the “nostalgia film” (what the French neatly call la mode rétro – retrospective styling). We must conceive of this category in the broadest way: narrowly, no doubt, it consists merely of films about the past and about specific generational moments of that past. Thus, one of the inaugural films in this new “genre” (if that’s what it is) was Lucas’s American Graffiti, which in 1973 set out to recapture all the atmosphere and stylistic peculiarities of the 1950s United States, the United States of the Eisenhower era… But let me first add some anomalies: supposing I suggested that Star Wars is also a nostalgia film. What could that mean? I presume we can agree that this is not a historical film about our own intergalactic past. Let me put it somewhat differently: one of the most important cultural experiences of the generations that grew up from the ’30s to the ’50s was the Saturday afternoon serial of the Buck Rogers type – alien villains, true American heroes, heroines in distress, the death ray or the doomsday box, and the cliffhanger at the end whose miraculous resolution was to be witnessed next Saturday afternoon. Star Wars reinvents this experience in the form of a pastiche: that is, there is no longer any point to a parody of such serials since they are long extinct. Star Wars, far from being a pointless satire of such now dead forms, satisfies a deep (might I even say repressed?) longing to experience them again: it is a complex object in which on some first level children and adolescents can take the adventures straight, while the adult public is able to gratify a deeper and more properly nostalgic desire to return to that older period and to live its strange old aesthetic artifacts through once again.
— Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism and Consumer Society
- Jameson, Fredric, Postmodernism and Consumer Society