Cinefamily has been programming films and events at L.A.’s legendary Silent Movie Theater for almost ten years. They’ve also created deep dive video mixtapes assembled entirely from found footage, on subjects including but not limited to cults, Bigfoot, Christploitation, video games, David Bowie, and cats—but those have always been screened for Cinefamily’s theatre audiences, and have never been shared online until now, with the YouTube release of Star Wars Nothing But Star Wars.
Star Wars Nothing But Star Wars is exactly what the title says—a feature length collection of found footage from the 1970s and ‘80s, all related to the utterly seismic phenomenon that the first Star Wars movie became, but with no footage from Star Wars itself. There are goofy news segments, character costume dance numbers, commercials, clips from talk shows, clips from Star Wars actors’ pre-Star Wars films, including then-teenaged Carrie Fisher’s immortal query of Warren Beatty in Shampoo. There’s a completely bonkers bit from Sesame Street showing Big Bird attempting to communicate with R2D2. There are Star Wars disco crossovers. There’s Gary Coleman as a Jedi. There’s an ad for Chewbacca gum, because GET IT? CHEW? OH, THAT IS RICH!
There’s a disquieting and baffling clip that seems to show a Tusken Raider watching a woman in a chicken mask getting fucked from behind.
The effect, in the end, is kind of a documentary film about the ubiquitous sensation that movie became, the ridiculous responses people had to it, and all the ways in which it was embraced. The story is told entirely with a barrage of clips—every single one of them fascinating in its own right—that resembles underground video compilations from the ‘80s.
Cinefamily’s creative director Marcus Herring talked to DM about it in an email exchange:
My creative partner Tom Fitzgerald and I made the mix for the theatre. We kinda wanted to get back to a time when Star Wars was new and fresh and rare, especially in light of the fact that a new Star Wars movie will be coming out every year from now until the end of time. It’s easy to forget that there was a time when Star Wars was new, before the Comicon empire, before Wookiepedia, and before the very idea of being a Star Wars Fan became a sort of codified identity. We’re not getting into the mythology about the universe, character backstories, the extended universe, the gravitational orientation of the gun turrets on the Millennium Falcon or any of the boring stuff that turns normal people off of Star Wars. This mix is more about lots of different kinds of people from all around the world having pure fun with Star Wars, whether it’s the bizarre interpretations of the iconography on Euro TV or the early homemade versions of Star Wars made by American kids back in the 70s/80s. There is a sort of edutainment aspect to the mix as well, because it’s also the story of the films and the filmmaking, all told without taking it too seriously.
Most of the mixtape footage is very rare, or at least buried by time and the sheer volume of video material devoted to Star Wars. We’ve been collecting this stuff for a long time, collecting weird and rare video about all kindsa subjects is what we do. We think fans will love it of course, but really it’s Star Wars for people who might not necessarily even care that much about Star Wars. We wanted to make sure that it’s coming from a place of love and fascination, even if a lot of the clips are gonzo. A lot of people dish on Lucas these days, but I think the audience will be refreshed to see him in our mixtape presented as the young, techy, artsy, and interesting guy who gave the world this awesome gift.
Cinefamily founder Hadrian Belove offered this, as well:
With Star Wars’ 40th anniversary coming up, we wanted to give it the loving Cinefamily treatment, and had a feeling it would be a great show. When you see such wild and esoteric footage that’s based around such familiar, common imagery it’s extra surreal and strange. What is more universal and global than the imagery of Star Wars?. More people probably recognize Darth Vader than Jesus Christ. And there’s something about Chewbacca speaking English and drunk Ewoks that really makes us laugh.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Even C-3PO and R2-D2 think Jenny McCarthy is an idiot
Crappy Thomas Kinkade paintings get the ‘Star Wars’ treatment
12-hour ambient music pieces from ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘Alien,’ ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Wars’