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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  October 24, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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>> . >> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with a controversy over the metropolitan opera production of the death of klinghoffer. we talk to first amendment lawyers martin garbus and floyd abrams. >> how can floyd or i or you come and say to the people you shouldn't see this, you shouldn't hear this. i mean does one group, the jewish group, minority groups, irish groups, black groups have a right to tell other people what they shouldn't do? >> rose: and we continue with george lucas, the filmmaker, talking about the new lucas museum of narrative art in chicago, and the movie business today. >> narrative art which is an art that tells a story about society, that's the definition of narrative art. >> it's art that tells a story, it's the kind of ideas that glue a society together. it's like-- it's the visual
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mythology of a society. it's like homer or anything else am you draw on the walls and everything before you could even write and say this is-- these are the things we believe in. it's important, it's important to society. and i realized that there really was no showcase for this sort of work. >> rose: we conclude this evening with annie lennox, her new cd is nostalgia, in which she takes her own interpretation of the american song book. >> jaws has never been my genre, and i think it was a challenge am i love challenge, i like to go into something that is dichb for me. >> rose: the death of klinghoffer, george lucas and annie lennox, when we condition-- continue. funding for charl yee rose is provided by the following: additional funding provided by: and by
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bloomberg, a provider of multimed why news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. . >> rose: the death of klinghoffer is an opera written in 1991. it tells the story of the hijacking of a cruise ship and the killing of one of its passengers. he was shot and thrown overboard in his wheelchair. the opera opened monday at the metropolitan operahouse in new york it was surrounded by controversy. hundreds of protestors called the piece anti-semitic and inflammatory. others called it a masterpiece and said art should not answer to politics. the episode has raised
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questions about the role of art, freedom of speech and the unique responsibility of an institution like the metropolitan opera. joining me are first amendment lawyers martin garbus and floyd abrams. i'm pleased to have them at this table. floyd, what's wrong with this? >> well, first of all, let's say it's protected by the first amendment. >> rose: yes. >> you are a first amendment believer. they have every legal right to do this. and peter gelb has every right as he chooses to put this on. i find it disturbing. i find it sort of morally obtuse, though, that they would choose to do so. this is really a work, perhaps even a fine work, but a work which nonetheless is about the death of a real pan, the murder of someone that walked the streets here in new york, which makes it a two-sided issue. which is a delate, as it were. there is a palestinian side,
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with beautiful aria's sung about what they claim to have lost in israel. there is an israeli side. and there's a dead man. and its seems to me that-- peter gelb would not have done an opera of the same sort about the death of martin luther king making a debating topic, should he have been killed. or the death of john kennedy, making a debating topic of should he have been killed. or pick one of the over 2,000 people that died on 9/11. the idea 6 having beautiful arias sung on the killer's side seems to me morally unacceptable. so he can do it, but i find it very troubling that he did. >> rose: i think this -- >> i think this is a very sensitive meditation on violence an hatred. i saw the opera back in
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1991. my understanding is that floyd has not seen the opera itself but you have seen a video. >> i have seen a video of an opera. >> seeing a video of an opera-- . >> seeing a video is not an opera. the difference between the opera that i saw in 1991, the opera that i saw later on and the opera that i saw in the met this week is extraordinarily significant. also floyd misstates what the story is in the opera. in the opera you have a captain who is a pivotal character in the opera. and with the-- and to say, to characterize the opera without having seen the opera, i mean this is done years ago by other countries that were burning books. so to evoke that here is awfully obscene. in any event, the captain is portrayed as a peace-seeking figure. cling half certificate portrayed as a man who was murdered brurtally and senselessly. and the most people piece of music in the opera is the
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aria at the end by mrs. klinghoffer when she talks about the torement she has suffered. when she talks about the torement the jews have suffered. and the captain comes in and he hears the dispute between the palestinians and the jews. and he says, or in characters, and he says that there ought to be a discussion, there ought to be a debate. and then there will be peace, and both sides more or less turned it done. you have to get specific and you have to get into the words, this characterization has nothing to do with the opera. both sides then turn it down. after they turn it down, the captain turns to both of them and he says there will be a failure. peace will not come unless people can talk to each other. the beauty of the opera is it deals, and floyd n an article he wrote, took after something i wrote in the "new york times". i said the play deals with the frustrations, angers and grievances of different peoples and therefore it should be heard. let me just say one thing, because i think one of the most significant things i
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can think of when i think of the first amendment, i was with andre sakaraov years ago. and he said, talking about the american atomic project and the german atomic project. what he was saying basically is the reason the american project succeeded and the others did not is because in america, you can say anything, you can do-- you can say anything, you can think anything. and because you can say anything, therefore you can think anything. and you can constantly go against authoritative figures. and that seems to me the same here. the whole question of the middle east, the whole question of the holocaust, and many people like floyd who have been criticizing this, governor pataki has never seen the op ra, rudy i don't believe has seen the opera. so there is a whole group of people-- . >> rose: rudy giuliani. >> and rudy giuliani i'm sorry to say evoked floyd's name when he spoke at the rally the other night. so to have a bunch of people
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coming in saying the opera is bad, the opera shouldn't have been shown, although i have never seen the opera, i read the libretto or seen the video. >> rose: let mow weigh in in two ways. number one, as i hear what floyd is saying, he says he perfectly understands the right of the metropolitan opera to put any metropolitan opera what he wants to be, he is a strong supporter of the first amendment, he thinks they should have exercised better judgement. >> right. >> rose: you think the metropolitan opera should be able to produce anything that it wants to do -- >> i can't decide what the opera should do. i condition decide what an author should do. you here had the other night martin amos who wrote this-- amis who wrote a book extraordinarily controversial and your interview was marvelous. he explained what drove him to write thising would. and you also had the quote, the primo levy quote, namely there are certainly things you can't understand. the adorno quote writing after auschwitz is barbaric. and yet there must be writing, there must be people talking about these things. and john adams, one of
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mark's most significant composers has previously done operas about controversial subjects. de dr. atomic which was critical of the united states, for bombing hiroshima. de nixon in china which basically showed nixon and-- richard nixon and pat nixon in a good light and showed kissinger in a bad light. he has a perfect right to do that. how can floyd or i or you come and say to the people, you shouldn't see this. you shouldn't hear this. i mean does one group, the jewish group, minority groups, irish groups, black groups, have the right to tell other people what they shouldn't do? one last thing. they tried to stop porgy and bess years ago, it's now become a classic. and black groups tried to stop it because they felt that it portrayed the blacks in an unfavourable light. we have gotten past that. and that's now shown throughout the world and is recognized as a classic. >> well, first there's something, there's another part to the first amendment,
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and that is dissent. and protest, an disagreement, and passing judgement. we do pass judgement. we pass judgement all the time. and peter gelb passes judgement at the met all the time in making decisions about what opera to put on, and what not. in the piece i did in "the wall street journal," i raised the question would he have even conceived of putting on an opera about the death of martin luther king, with beautiful arias suggest on behalf of his murderer, and then a back and forth selection of commune cases and arguments from one side to the other side, and we know the answer is he would not. he would not, at least as a matter -- >> the opera says, the captain says, he says whatever chance there was for peace, or whatever point you wanted to make by seizing the boat, he said you've now lost it because you have killed somebody. the opera does not come down on the side of the israelis. also when you talked about
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the two choruses in the beginning, it's the same people. in other words, first it's people who are portraying palestinians. and then those same people take off their costumes in the opera, which you didn't see, and what they then do is they become the jews. >> they are treating -- >> they're treating the murderer does. >> they're not treating them the same. >> the captain con dems the killing. >> i understand, marty. >> but the captain con dems the killing. >> what are you doing-- what i'm saying and what you are saying, really, is that this is-- you know, a perfectly fair tit for at that time, one side other side, but 9 reality is there was one murder, and the man had nothing to do with them. let me finish. the murdered man had nothing to do with the middle sease. his only crime was that he was jewish. >> why did they cancel the hd simulcast? >> i'm sorry they did.
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i think they did because of the pressures that were brought to bear. >> and they the articulated reason was that there was a level of anti-semitism abroad which could be or was said to be potentially inflamed by the opera. and therefore they would treat showing it abroad differently from showing it here. i don't have any objections to their showing it. but i think the protestors are right to have their say, an to say that this is -- >> you don't disagree with their right to say, the protests within of course not. >> rose: the anthony thomasini, the chief classical music creator of the new york sometimes said the met's decision to cancel the hd simulcast and radio broadcast represents a dismaying artistic cave-in. >> i'm sorry that the met did it. i understand why the met did it. a lot of pressure was brought on them. >> well, you saw the demonstrations on the street
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by people who had in the seen the opera. pataki, giuliani and other people. >> rose: you said you respect their right to do that. >> of course, they have a right to do that. but a time when synagogues are being burned, swastikas are being put up throughout the world, when better time to have a go bait-- a debate about things like anti-semitism and the holocaust. >> rose: his daughters right write that the opera presents false moral equivalencies without concept and over os no index into the senseless murder of an american jew. it rational lyze, romant sizes and legit advertises the tourist murder of our father. >> and the critics say something ver different, and the artist says something very different, and the art world says something very different. >> if we had a 9/11. >> i can understand their, what respect to whether you have have an opera with the assassination of martin luther king or john kennedy and present different view, of course you should be
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permitted to do it. >> you know they wouldn't do it. >> i don't know that they wouldn't do it. >> you know they wouldn't have beautiful operas saying it was really a good thing to kill the president -- >> porgy and bess which sn an opera -- >> a work of fiction. >> it has been opposed for years by black people because of the way it portrayed the black-- . >> rose: go ahead. >> all that means is that they can do it. and we're agreed, they can do it. the question is, the judgement, i think we're entitled to pass. the issue we're entitled to discuss is whether they should do it, not whether they may do it and not whether people may see it. and i think that the daughters had it exactly right. and my view again is that the issue of whether he should have been killed is never an issue. >> rose: a couple more quotes here. this was a question, peter gelb had called the death of klinghoffer arguably quote, arguably the greatest
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operatic writing from america's leading composer of contemporary opera. that is what peter said about the death of klinghoffer. leon weezeltier literary editor said it has beautiful choreal writing but the idea it is a musical genius is absurd. mainly i think the problem is that it is fascinated by the perpetrators, and bored by the victims. the perpetrators are dark and mesmerizing and romantic and tragic. the victims are whiny and cliched, and have no human interest whatsoever. >> leon is absolutely entitled to have his opinion. there are certain reviews that say the opposite. i agree that leon should say whatever he feels about it. that is not the opera that i saw. and that's not the opera that most of the major critics in america have seen. it's a very different opera, i don't know if leon like floyd has also not seen the opera. or like giuliani has not seen the opera. the number of people who are walking around, allen dishowits who are writing
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about this opera, people have not seen the opera and they are passing judgements. >> rose: what did alan say. >> he was offended by the opera. he described it the same way leon described it, the exact same way. >> and i think charlie, that's-- as the passage he read from the daughters indicates it is the very romant sizing of the murderers, that they found most upsetting. >> let me read the last lines of the libretto, the last words that the audience hear t is marlin klinghoffer after she is crying and tearful, and this sorrowful majestic last aria. she says i should have died. if a hundred people were murdered and their blood flowed in the wake of this ship, like oil, only then would the world intervene. they should have killed me. i wanted to die. this tragedy, he puts in a very, the author puts in a very global sense. the draj klee-- tragedies engulf us because of the
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misunderstandings, because of the horrors like the holocaust or horrors like the middle east, conflagration which continues today. >> rose: thank you for coming. pleasure to have you. >> thank you, floyd. >> good to see you, charlie. >> rose: back in a moment, stay with us. (applause) >> so two quick questions. why a museum, and why chicago. >> well, i have been collecting art ever since i was in college. and started out with comic art, and moved my way up to illustrative art and then higher art, contemporary art and the whole thing. but i realized that illustrative art as most narrative art of the 20th century was sort of short shifted because in the beginning of the 20th century, a lot of the critics in new york and everything were not dealing with narrative art any more. we're going to do the
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modern. modern is going to be everything. and we're going to-- and up to that point narrative art which is an art that tells a story about society. >> rose: that is the definition of narrative art. >> it is art that tells a story. it's the kind of ideas that glue a society together. it's like-- it's the visual mythology of a society, it's like homer or anything else. you draw on the walls and everything before you could even write and say this is-- these are the things we believe in these are the powers we believe in, these are the rules we believe in, these are our heroes we believe in, our history. and it was all painted in images. and the height that that was in the 17th century when it was very, very powerful, and the highest form of art, and then by the time we got to the 20th century it had dwindled down to being not
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insignificant but below all the other art and obviously illustrative art which had the extra thing of when science came in and developed good quality printing, so you could reproduce things, then they started reproducing art for the cover of post, and books and all kinds of things they said oh, that's not real art because if there is a thousand copies of that, but you still have the original and as far as i'm concerned, it's important, it's important to society, and i realize that there really was no showcase for this sort of work. there is the roco museum. >> rose: norman rockwell museum. >> the brandywine museum, the delaware museum there are little museums tucked around here but nobody has gone to stay this stuff is lechity mat and it should be, have a place to live. >> it's not only narrative art but also cinema art that
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you mentioned it will be a place where you can watch movies. its. >> it's a regular cinema tech which is, where you go to watch movies, we have biggar chiefs, and the, at the same time we have lot os of theatres. we're going to be able to show regional films but we're also going to be able to sow all kinds of movies, permal films, and have lectures an bring people in, to talk about the movies and how they are done. we then have another a area which will be blown all out of proportion of the things that are made, the crafts that are made to go into a movie. which i believe are an art form themselves. you have the sets like architecture where you design a set and environment and that sort of thing. and we will have examples of that there. we also have props, which
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you, for people to learn how a prop is developed is, both in the past, in terms of doing research and finding out an accurate way of portraying something. and how do you make it personal. and also futuristic, which is most science fiction films. all designed from scratch, by designers, and drawn. so we have that. and then we also have costumes. we will also have fashion because costumes he you design. for a character to develop what that character is. who he is. by the clothes that he wears. fashion is exactly the same thing where somebody picks the costume that they want to represent them. so you dress a certain way because you want people to think of you as having a certain kind of personality and being a certain kind of person. so we have both examples of both of those. and so that's the part that everybody calls the star wars museum, there will be
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star wars after facts there. and people who worked on star wars. >> rose: how about indiana jones. >> indiana jones, lord of the rings. we'll have a lot of movies that-- . >> rose: not just your movies. >> not just my movies. a lot of people's movies. but movies that rely a great deal on design. >> rose: when you start off, did you have a natural skill as a story teller? were you one of those people who -- >> no, i-- i didn't know anything about movies. i liked to build things. when i was very young i built houses and club houses and soapbox derbies. then when i got a little older i started to build cars and work on cars and go racing and doing all that stuff, then i was in an accident and i figured i should change my life. so then i went to college and or junior college and studied social sciences which i love. and i just got very connected with that. and was going to go on to san francisco state to study
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anthropology. but ended up through a fluke going to usc and studying cinema. and i was shocked that they actually had a course in making movies at a college. but once i got there, i realized that this is for me. i love it, i just fell in love with it and that was the end of that. >> rose: but you wanted to tell personal stories, small movies. >> i wanted to-- my experiences in san francisco where there was a very large experimental film community. and called canyon cinema. and that's what i liked. i liked pure cinema. and when i went to school that is what i was going to do. i said i don't like to tell stories, i don't like scripts, or any of this stuff. but i got a scholarship to study at a studio for six months and just happened that francis coppola was doing the only movie there because they from transitioning from jack warren leaving to another canadian company buying it. and so he's basically a
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writer and director of ackers, so between the two of us, we formed a bond, because all photography editing, directing ackers and writing scripts are all tied together when are you making a movie. so we complemented each other well and i became his assistant and eventually we finished the movie in six months, we did a movie all across the united states and decided to finish in san francisco where i grew up. i said i want to live here. i don't want to live in hollywood. i don't want to make theatrical films so we start aid little company there and we got a chance, i got a chance to make a movie for a studio, and i said i will do one that is kind of have an experimental film and half a story film. i said i will never get a chance to do this again. and i may never get a chance to make a movie again. and as it turned out i made the movie, it is what we now call a cult classic but at the same time t bankrupt our
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company and sent us off on other directions. >> what was the title of the movie. >> thx 1138. (applause) arch then what did you learn from francis? >> well one, i learned how to write screenplays. and two, i learned how to direct actors. and those were very, very important. he didn't completely convince me that that kind of movie making was what i would be that interested in oddly enough after thx and the company went bankrupt wherx to make some money. i couldn't make any money. i couldn't get arrested for god's sakes. i was still a year out of film school. i said francis, you're the director, will you have to go out and get a job and pay off this loan, and he said well, yeah, they have offered me this thing, gangster movie, but it is italian and i like the spaghetti scenes, an they're
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going to me a lot of money. i said well, i don't think you have any choice. he didn't want to make fills he was just hired to direct. due due de a lot more than just direct that movie he fouts with the studio there was blood everywhere on that move jee. and de get it made the way he wanted it it and i went off and he said well, i don't think you should be doing these experimental films, these weird things that didn't make sense. i don't think that you should be doing science fiction films with robots and you know where it's all kind of artsy farthersy. i dare to you make a comedy. i dare to you make a comedy. and i said well, i guess i don't have anything to do. i can write a screenplay and everything. he said well, if i were you, that is what i would do because we were living in san francisco. and so i started working on american graffiti, which is how i grew up. and i figured at least it would justify all the years
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i wasted cruising the main street of town. and even though i got offered some jobs from hollywood, you know w lots of money, i just decided that this is what i wanted to do. once i committed to that, i spent a couple of years trying to convince the studios to make it. >> rose: then you made it and it got great reception. >> no. i made it. we showed it at a preview screen. the audience absolutely went berserk. ed studio hated it. said it wasn't fit to show an audience. how dare you. and there, we're going to not release it. we're going to maybe see if the tv department want to put it on as a movie of the week. so we-- basically whenever they would have a screening at the studio we would bring the film down from san francisco and instead of booking one of the little theatres, there would be five or six executives from the tv departments, we would big a 500 seat theatre like this, and we would go and
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say, ask all our friends everybody at the studio, everybody to come and see the studio. so these four guys would be sitting there in a huge crowd, the crowd went berserk, absolutely berserk. and after about three or four of these screening,, went through the pub leg-- publicity department, the marketing department. finally somebody said to the film department, because high up executive had said no, it was done at a high level. so the underlings, they said you guys should really see this movie. it's good. so we did the same thing for them and then they said okay, we'll release it but they released it in august which is the worst time to be released and, you know t wasn't-- a giant hit t did okay. >> but it became a cult film. >> no, it was okay. made like, in those days making maybe 20 million dollars, now that's sort of a lower end of having a hit, if it's below 20, forget it, are you not going go anywhere. it made about 20, a little over 20 the first week. second week it made 22, third week it made 25.
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it just kept, and it went for a whole year it stayed in the theatres for an entire year and it never dropped. >> so for a dling 700,000 investment, they made $100 million return. and then suddenly i was very hot. >> yes. >> before that i couldn't get work anywhere. >> and then they got, then you got star wars. >> yeah. when i was trying to pitch star wars i had an idea to do this kind of film, it was just an idea i had about psychological motif in mythology, and if they are still accurate today. >> rose: but it is a lot about good and evil, heroes. >> good and evil. but he rose, what makes a hero, what is friendship. what is the idea of sacrificing yourself for something larger. they're all really basic things. it's very obvious-- obvious but it's actually not. it's not that obvious to a lot of people, unless you have somebody tell you every generation that this is what our country believes in.
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so this is what we believe in. and star wars it was, you know, the religion, the everything was so taken and put into a form that was easy for everybody to accept so, it didn't fall into a contemporary mode where you could argue about it. it went everywhere in the world. because they could say oh, the thing i believe in are the same as that. most people in the world believe exactly the same thing it was something i did when i was about 8 years ol. my mother when she was putting me to dead. i asked her a question. i said mom, if there's only one god, why are there so many religions. and it's a question that fascinated me ever since. you you know, and if you really look at it and you say well most people say well, what is the difference between a shi'a and a sync what's the difference between a katz lick and protestant. >> there isn't any difference. we all believe in the jewish
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god but what about the jewish god and the god that came before and the, you know, buddha is different but if you think of it as one god, you say well everybody expresses it differently but it's still, you know, basically don't kill people, and be compassionate and love people that is basically all-star wars is. >> (applause) >> then you sold your company in 2012, $4 billion, that's what they say. >> and in that company you had indiana jones and other great classics, i mean of the top ten grossing films, i don't know how many you have. but it's a bunch of them. >> right. >> rose: was it because you were tired? >> well, i turned 70 and i, my whole life centered around me doing, you know these avant-garde experimental films, films that you don't know whether
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they are going to work or not. are you kind of playing with the media which is what i wanted to do. all my student films are like that everything i did for a long time was like that. even thx was phagly like that. i say if this fails i will go back to doing my spermal films. and all my friends, marty, francis, steven, they say when are you going to do your sfermental fill testimonies. i said well, i got caught in this tar baby called star wars and lots of opportunities, lots of things, so i said well, i like star wars. i fell in love with it, and i want to complete it. and of i completed it, i produced fills and did things it and at the same time i came back, did another, the back story to the whole thing, and then i felt well, at some point there is three more stories, but you know, it takes ten years to do that. to do all three of them. and i said you know, i don't think i can do that.
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and i want to go do my little spermal films. i was commuting between chicago and san francisco and all that stuff. i am going to take my life and make it so i can live in chicago, live in san francisco, make my little art films, build a museum, take care of my daughter, i said that's what is important to me. because the other part is, at the height of my career, after jedi, i had a daughter, who is a-year-old. and i was married and my wife, we got divorced, and i was left with the baby. but when i first, she was adopted and when i first held her in my arms in the hospital, a lightning bolt struck me. i said this is the best thing that has ever happened to me so when she left, i just took the baby and i said i'm going retire.
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i'm to the going direct any more movies. i ended up adopting another baby by my own and then i did another baby by my own. so hi three kids that i raised for 15 years, and then i went back and came out of retirement and started directing again. so and now i'm actually doing my own little spermal fills that i really want to make. because i think i reached the end of my, what i can contribute to star wars. >> how do you feel about the movie business today. because you and stephen spielberg were down at usc. and you made a note of the fact that if we have seven or eight of these sort of big extravaganza films that we have now, like take your choice of titles, five or six of those don't make it, there going to be an implosion. right? >> well, yeah i think the issue is ultimately, what are you selling in the end.
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are you selling creativity, raw creativity, from talentsed people. now the problem has always been with the studios, although the beginning of the studios its entrepreneurs who ran the studios were sorts of creative guys. they would take books an turn them into movies and things like that. but when i grew up t was the first time they allowed film students in. before we were like you could never get in the movie business. but when, in the '60s, the kids that were in film schools loved film. they just loved it. and so they didn't care that they couldn't get a job or make movies or anything. but they were doing in school so they would stay there as long as they could. so the shy came like the day a rifed at warner brothers lot for this scholarship, jack warner left. and then they sold it to say-- which is in canada and then another one sold it to sony and coca-cola, and suddenly all these corporations were coming in. they didn't know anything about the movie business.
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so they said maybe we should hire kids from film schools. they supposedly know how to make films so suddenly we could get jobs which was a fantastic thing. and for two years they kind of let us do our job. the producers made-- produced the movies and did the budgets an things and we did it, all of my movies came in on budget and on time and they made money. and all my friends that whole gang of people made successful move jees -- movies, but then the studios went back to we don't trust you people and we think we know how to make movies. you know, i took a script course at san diego state and so i am going to tell you how to make these movies. and of course that was, i by the time i got star wars i said i'm out of here. i was still in san francisco so i never got bugged by the l.a. industry. but because all the executives had to fly to san francisco to talk to me. so but then i just said i'm going dot worst thing you
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can do is just to finance my own movies but then nobody can touch me. so i did that, but for the guys that stayed behind, it was almost intolerable that the studios change everything, all the time, and unfortunately, they don't have any imagination. and they don't have any talent. so what are you selling? >>, so they are going to make the same movie over an over an over again. piching the movie, you can't say well it's just like this movie. they won't do it, an of course in our world we were doing stuff all over the map you can imagine, there was a good tuddio executive in fox when they did star wars. he believed in me because he loved american graffiti. he said are you a talented guy, i will do ever whatever you want to do. but you never hear that today. he had to fight the board of directors, but he said you know, i don't understand what this thing is about big dogs flying spaceships around. it doesn't make any sense to me. are you sure this is going to work.
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>> and i said i know it's different, but i believe in it. >> it's my movie. >> but you can't do that today. you just can't. and certain directors have gotten away with doing kind of crazy things but they are very few an far between and you wonder how they got to do it if the studios do the same movie over and over and and they cost a lot of money. star wars, i was financing it myself. they are very inexpensive. are you to the going to see a star wars movie for $150 million. it's just because you know, one of them failed, i am out of business. i can can't make any more. all i was trying to do is keep it so i could keep making movies. and in the end when i sold them, i made much more money than i thought but as opposed to some of my friends and people in l.a. who buy big yachts, i said well i'm to the going to buy a yacht but i will take the money i would use to buy a yacht, i will put it in a bank an just spend it making
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movies that don't make any money -- >> will you but you also spent the time to learn technology. you really were ahead of the game in terms of the movie business an digital revolution. >> well, i did it --. >> rose: you were. >> i did it even though some of my friends still refuse to accept the new world. and we argue about it a lot. but at the same time, i started out as an editor and cameraman. and one of thing sdwes was if go and see movies in a theatre, usually it was really bad, it was scratched, chewed up, terrible. i had a company called thx and its sole purpose was to make sure the movie looked good when you went to see it because a lot of the times it wasn't that was an idea that stanley kubarych had. the first one to do that on 2001. and i said why don't we make a little company that just does this for people, to make sure when your movie gets to the screen it looks the way it was when you saw it. and then on thx we started working with digital-- digital technology and being an editor, i said man, if we
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could digitize editing, it would be so much easier. i wouldn't have to fish around for little two frames of film, we wouldn't have to go you know, spend 15 minutes trying to find a shot and all this stuff. we could just -- -- it was perfect. so i developed the edit droid which was sold to avid and worked with steve jobs on final cut pro, so i was a big advocate of that sort of thing and then we did it with projectors in the theatres and with-- slipped my mind, the name of the company who we did it with. and we did it with sony on building cameras. and which made it so that the whole thing could be digital, because we had been working digitally in special effects for years. that's where we developed it in the first place. >> right. >> which was right-- . >> rose: but my point is these businesses did -- >> we didn't do it because we want the technology. i just did it because like with digital effects, i did it because you just couldn't
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do things it. there were so many things you could not do, it was not possible. >> rose: you did it because it would enable you to tell your story better. >> right, absolutely. and then that was the visual effects part, the next part was editing which you know, being an editor i just said there's got to be a better way. this like being in the dark ages. and then we realized if we shot them that way it would be easier to do the visual effects. you have to do the whole thing. >> suppose i started this sentence i want to you finish it for me. that i began a sentence by saying george lucas revolutionized movies and movie making by-- finish that sentence. by luck? >> rose: thanks to george lucas. (applause) >> the great annie lennox is
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here, a grammy and academy award-winning singer and songwriter, her album is called nostalgia, it takes her into the great american song bookment she offers her take on classics such as summertime by george gershwin, strange fruit by billie halladay and i put a spell on you by screaming jayhawkins. i'm pleased to have her back at this table. welcome. >> thank you so much. >> rose: it's good to see you. >> its's very good to see you again. >> rose: how long has it been. >> it's been awhile. >> where have you been. >> i've been all over the place. traveling a lot. >> listen this. memphis in june, georgia on my mind, i put a spell on you. summertime, i cover the waterfront. strange fruit, god bless the child, you belong to me. september in the rain, i can dream, can't any the nearness of you, and mood indigo. do you love those songs and would you love to hear annie lennox sing them with her own unique take, than this
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is what you ought to listen. how did this happen? >> i think it was a question of time, i never expected that i would want to record an album of classic. >> because so many people recorded them. >> yes, but also, yeah, that's true but also, jazz has never been my genre. and i think it was a challenge. a nice thing, i love a challenge. i like to go into something that is a little bit different for me. and actually there was something that triggered it. was that i was performing with herby hancock and we were rehearsinging to. i was with his band a couple of years ago in washington d.c. and i was just-- with them and having fun and kind of having a joke, really, about here i am doing jazz. it's funny. and actually, it kind of left, it triggered something for me and i remembered it, you know, maybe that is a direction i can take. >> rose: so what did you do then? >> i just let i just leted idea simmer because i have a lot of ideas and many of us do, you know, ideas are easy
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but which one do you select and which one dow follow through on. so i lived with it for a little while. and then about a year later hi some time to spare. and that was when the notion came back to me, and i just started to explore the songs and now adays, with youtube, you can have access to archived material, it's just instantly at your fingertips. so i just sort of typed in wick immediate ya, you know, classic american jazz songs from the 30ses. and a whole list of obviously, there are thousands of songs came up. and i just started to explore them i wasn't brought up with them. >> rose: so once you selected those you liked,. >> yeah, i found a few that i thought were interesting, and then i would write a title down and i would put some-- i would find out who is the composer and what is this. and you know, just out to explore it. and i started with a list. and then once i had a big enough list, then i had an opportunity to work on them, and to really assimilate and
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to find out how i correlate them to my voice. >> but you also said that what you have to do is first encounter a song like you're a stranger. >> well, and in this instance, i don't want to feel as if i'm just covering a song. that is a superficial thing to do, fine. okay. but for me, i wanted to get right down to the none of the song. and interpret it in a fresh way. >> rose: through your own. >> my own response to it. my own connection to it. >> so when you got to summertime what did you do and say and feel. >> you know, it is a ubiquity is song. everyone knows it. and you actually think it really didn't need to be covered ever, ever again. and yet when i went into the studio to record it, just to see if there was a way in, somehow the magazine any cans of the song itself spoke to me. and in a very easy way, i sang t kind of did one take and i said i think i've recorded this song. i think i've done it and it
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was one of those really rare events when everything just seemed to click and fall into place. >> did you identify more with one, of all these that i just mentioned more than any other? >> to pull one song out of a whole journey of 12, each one has its own particular characteristics, right from the beginning, all the way down through to the darkness of strange fruit, all the way up back to indigo which is a song about darkness, depression and blues. but in the end it ends up for me being a celebration of life. >> yeah. >> it is interesting that someone with your background had never listened to these or had never really thought much about them. i mean did not have the sort of jazz in your soul. >> yeah or jazz within your soul but wasn't touched by this music. >> the deeper root of jazz is blues to me. and so blues has always been with me, a rferp b, soul muss thake came from detroit when i first heard of it as
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a teenager and was dancing to it at 14 and 15 in the local dance halls. so the resonance of jazz is there, but the blues is deeper. and that is the thing i kind of wanted to get to. >> rose: so you put this, decided not only to do this within a cd but guess what, you know, what is the most -- >> remember those. >> rose: yes, i do, i do. >> you have box loads at home, haven't you in the attic. >> i do. i was that you were coming and you had this done in vinyl and a friend of mine said to me that say great afficionado of music said i hate myself because i got rid of all my records. >> yeah, is it the purity of the song. >> yeah, i think it's a few things, actually. the sound is very warm. when you actually play something on final you take your time to lay it down, you lift the needle up. >> carefully, you don't want to scratch the record. >> exactly, you really don't want to scratch it but there is something about the warmth in the song. done-- now the head of blue note label who i am now
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assigned to, took me and my coproducer into his office. he has a beautiful stereo system there. and he played it to us when at the was just pressed on vinyl. and it was a very different experience. you can hear music on different formats, you are sitting in your car playing it, on very expensive big systems, but listening to it on vinyl is a little different. >> georgia on my mind, a song that i love. >> but i always think of ray charles, the first thing you think of ray charles. >> absolutely. of course. and i realize i'm sort of going into quintessential ter tow. but i was just so taken by the song and so charmed by it. just the very first entry of the very first line just tells it you, when he sings, because i'm always thinking of him, particularly, georgia, and then he says georgia, he remembers and of course it is a song of nostalgia, all of these songs are. >> he really does, he sort of hangs on georgia like
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he's just remembering, as he remembers he utters the word. >> absolutely, it's sublime. >> when you say feminism, what does it mean to you. >> feminism is a simple word for me, it means the empowerment of women, the support of women. it means that-- i have seen countries where women and young girls especially don't have access to the things that we take for granted in legislative terms, in terms of their own empowerment, in terms of their equality. and i think there is a long way to go with affectnism. but feminism can be a very polarizing term for people, pem think very different thoughts about it and i think it's a very important word. because i don't think there is a substitute for the word. and we can't just throw the baby out with the bathwater and say let's get rid of that word because it is confusing for people. >> rose: but you are also sensitive to people who use the word and somehow say i'm a feminist and you believe that their commit suspect
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more surface than feat. >> well, i welcome the debate, you know. i think right now there are a lot of different takes on what feminism is. and from my perspective, when i see very overt sexuality being played out in front of extremely young audience, i take issue with it. i dent don't necessarily thing that pole dancing and twerking is synonymous with empowerment. that is something to be discussed. but i take issue with it. >> because you think of it as what. >> i think of it as setting a poor example to girls who are very-- young girls who are already in a position where they're very, very influenced by all sorts of confusing, complex issues in society, particularly when it comes to their psychological health, their emotional well-being. when you think about how many single mothers there are that have not not been given the education, let's say, in their culture about access to contraception, all sorts of things. when you see the
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disempowerment of young women who are giving birth to young bad babies at the age of 15, i don't think it's very helpful. >> rose: but it's the nature of both the lyrics and the stage performance that you think goes too far. >> i think this hypersexualization is a methodology of radical marketing. i think it is very abrasive and i think it is about selling records because sex sells. i have nothing against sex. i think sex is great and wonderful but i think it needs to be appropriate. >> different as are you suggest the way you perform on stage and whether-- and any impact you can have on young people. >> i think when you know that the majority of your audiences are very, very young and very easily influenced by your kind of moves on tag, yeah, 7-year-olds being exposed to certain things like that i think it's inappropriate. and i think parents have cause to be concerned. and it pushes the debate. because nowadays we have no boundaries with internet. we have so many things that young people are exposed to.
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and we need to talk about it. and we need to act on it too. >> what's been your own evolution in music. do you look for new things that you haven't tried. >> well, you know, charlie, for the last ten years, i've been working more of a campaigner and activist in the context of hiv and aids. i've been very, very focused on that. music slightly went on the back burner, like a whole new chapter in my life, actually, since i went to south africa in 2004. a lot of things changed for me and i sort of used the music, the place i was at as a sort of platform in a way. and the music aspect. now just recently i felt like i really wanted to make this album, really, just for the record. because i have never done it before. it was an explanation it made me t has inspired me. i felt excited and stimulated about it. it's a labor of love. whatever happens to it, in terms of sales, it could be there, it could be there, it doesn't bat-- doesn't
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matter. i love people to love it and i love it to be a successful i'm to the going to pretend. but i have made this music because it's been a joy. and there it is, it is for the record. in years to come, if people look back on me, then that will be part of my catalog. >> well so, will your effort in the struggle to do something about hiv aids. as well that's been your life and therefore it becomes a defining part of who you are. >> yes. and kind of going back to the sexuality that we have been talking about, you know, it's interesting. because hiv and aids as we know is transmitted through unprotected sex. one of the ways it is transmitted. and it is concerning when you get this hypersexualization, push mood young people's faces and the message that you are trying to get out is like if are you going to have sex, it has to be protected. it has to be safe. so we are living in a time when things are so complex and things are in your face that you never, it's a good thing in a way that things are far more out there that we can have discussions like
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this so what's next for you? you got this album, you are promoting this album. your social consciousness continues to live within you. i don't like to live life in a prescriptive manner where i am told this is what i am going to do and here is my diary. >> rose: imagine my surprise. >> in three year's time, you know. i'm going to be doing this. i know where i am going to go. i play a very organic life game. i like to kind of be able to be in some way in control of it and yets be open to potentially new ideas. so who knows. >> when you find out, please come back oh, well, if are you here and you are inviting me still this is the third time i have been on your program. and i have to tell you, and you know this, it's been such a joy and privilege to meet you and talk with you, every time. >> rose: thank you. nostalgia is out it is in vinyl as well. it will be released in cd and digital format. thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us on-line at and
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charlie ♪ ♪ georgia ♪ gorge ga ♪ the whole day through ♪ it's just an old sweet son ♪ ♪ keep georgia on my mind ♪ oh ♪ i said georgia ♪ georgia ♪ a song of you ♪ ♪ with moonlight
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♪ ♪ ♪ funding for charlie rose has been provided by the coca-cola company, supporting this program since 2002. american express, additional funding provided by: and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. >> you're watching
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