A 30-minute unaired TV special on late-60s student films, with early Coppola and Lucas interviews.

Between the French La Nouvelle Vague and the Italian Neorealismo, Europe had been undergoing a continuous cinema transformation since the 1950s, while the ailing American studio system groaned under its own weight and inertia.

New Hollywood had arrived with Bonnie and Clyde in 1967, and already by 1968 it was changing how Hollywood thought and acted. The student film scene was getting ready to explode, and it knew it. 

The details on when this documentary, The New Cinema, were made are a little vague. IMDb lists it as 1968, but it contains clips from Easy Rider, which was released in 1969. It's possible it had early access, especially given the inclusion of interviews with Peter Fonda; but regardless it did a remarkable job of getting on camera a wide number of the people who would help transform cinema over the course of the following decades including Dustin Hoffman, Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate and Andy Warhol and most interesting to us, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas.

The film was directed by Gary Young, who is also credited as the Second Unit Director on 1:42.08. Information about Gary Young is scarce beyond what IMDb lists, which is scarce in itself. Given that he worked on 1:42.08, it's not unreasonable to think that he was perhaps in Lucas's class, but I've so far been unable to get a hold of a list of students from that class (beyond the famous ones). However, he was Assistant Cameraman on on Monte Hellman's Ride in the Whirlwind (1966), although that doesn't preclude him also attending USC. If anyone knows more, I'd love to know, as he seems to subsequently have mostly vanished from the film scene, holding only one other credit on IMDb.

Also remarkably, it was edited by Paul Golding (who first posted it on his YouTube account), another classmate of Lucas's, who also worked with Lucas on several student films (including The Emperor and his own Wipeout, with Lucas, which bears a striking resemblance to Lucas's Look at Life) while they were both at USC.

According to the description on YouTube it apparently never aired on TV, but certainly provides a fascinating look into the (slightly self-obsessed) young filmmakers of the late 60s, and along with Gene Youngblood's 1971 interview with George Lucas it provides a fantastic look into Lucas's early career and early determination to rebel against the prevailing forces of Hollywood.

I believe part of this film was used in Peter Biskind's somewhat gossipy, but nevertheless must-see documentary version of Easy Riders, Raging Bull (2003).

Skip to about 10 minutes into the first part to get to the Coppola/Lucas bit.

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Michael Heilemann
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