Steven Spielberg has delivered a powerful, emotional speech upon receiving the Berlinale honorary Golden Bear, in which he said he is “not finished” as a filmmaker and wants “to keep working, learning, discovering and scaring the shit out of myself, and sometimes the shit out of you.”
The legendary US director gave the address last night (February 22) in Berlin when accepting the lifetime achievement awards, ahead of a screening of his latest film The Fabelmans.
Scroll down to read the full text of Spielberg’s speech
Receiving standing ovations when he entered the room, and at both the beginning and end of his 11-and-a-half minute speech, Spielberg said that “the anxieties, uncertainties and fears that tormented me as I began shooting [1971 TV movie] Duel have stayed vivid for 50 years, as if no time has passed.
“Luckily for me, the electric joy I feel on the first day of work as a director is as imperishable as my fears. Because there’s no better place than a set for me.
He thanked his wife Kate, his children, and all those who helped him make his films possible. My films have been made in collaboration with great artists. All my films have been collaborations, with great artists.”[at accepting a lifetime achievement award]Spielberg also said he is “a little alarmed to be told I’ve lived a lifetime, because I’m not finished!”, to cheers from the audience. To cheers from the audience, Spielberg also said that he was “a little alarmed” to be told he’d lived a lifetime. “Other countries, including my own, can learn a lot from the courage of the German people to act to prevent fascists from seizing power,” said Spielberg. “Other nations, including mine, can learn a lot by the courageous determination of Germany people to prevent fascists seized power,” said Spielberg.
An evening hosted in Germany by Hadnet Tesfai began on a short note from Mariette Rissenbeek, and Carlo Chatrian about their memories of Spielberg. Rissenbeek noted seeing
, Spielberg’s first feature, but not realising it was his film until 20 years later – “he is good for surprises”. Chatrian mentioned a scene in The Fabelmans10 where a young actor faces a huge image on screen. Chatrian said that Spielberg’s work is unique because it has both the small and the large. A four-minute clip reel of Spielberg was then followed by a Bono introduction. The singer cited Spielberg’s 1974 crime drama
The Sugarland Express in relation to a personal memory of his mother; 2001 sci-fi A.I. in relation to Hollywood
– “Steven is the soul in the machine”; and the Indiana Jones series through a historical analogy – “ has been digging up the past so he can get a better look at the present.”Earlier in the day, Spielberg had said he has “no idea” what he is going to do next, at a press conference for his honorary award.The Berlinale continues until Sunday, February 26.Steven Spielberg’s Berlin speechWell, how do I follow that? How can I follow Bono and the beautiful context of my entire life? Bono, that was one of your most beautiful tracks, thank you, so much. Let me start by thanking the Berlin Film Festival. Mariette, thank-you, Rissenbeek, Carlo Chatrian, Rainer Rother, head of the Deutsche Kinomatic – are they here? Okay, great. Claudia Roth, minister of culture, was also present tonight. Thank you to all festival patrons and staff for this incredible honour. I’ll talk to the bear a bit later, I have a story about a bear, but that’s for another day.So Albert Einstein believed that time is not constant. It speeds up, slows down, and maybe even curves back to itself 118 years ago. Now, physicists have proved Einstein right. This is exciting, but perhaps a little less so for those who are older than me. You’ll probably know by the time you reach 76 that Einstein, a 26-year old, had the right idea. Because time is only measurable by calendars and clocks. Time is a trick in the mind and a trick by the light. Although I have been directing for a long time, six decades, it feels like I directed [Steven]Duel
1010 last year. I know a lot more about moviemaking at 76 than I did at 25. I also directed my first feature film at 25. The anxieties, the uncertainties, and the fears that plagued me when I started shooting
10 have remained vivid for 50 years. The electric joy I feel the first day of my job as a director is just as powerful as my fears. Because there is no place that feels more like home to me than when I’m on a set. My fears, my joys, and my work are the truth of my life. And my truest, my truest, home is my family home. It’s far more than the hours, days, and years I’ve supposedly travelled, which you can bring to my attention tonight. My soul’s companion, Kate, is found in falling in love, with a beautiful, brilliant, and extraordinary woman. Kate, who has made so much possible for me since 1983. Then, becoming the father to our children – all of these things occurred yesterday in my heart. Although Kate and I have been married for 39 years, our children are now adults, many with their own children. It’s amazing to me that I’m a grandpa. Leah, my mother, died in 2017. Three years later, I lost my father. No one can escape the memory of past events when they are newly orphaned. My entire life has been spent on a bullet train. But change and loss accumulates until you realize that memory is a larger part of your life. With my latest film TheFabelmans10, I decided it was time to reflect on my childhood, the world I was born into and how I emerged from it so I could make my own decisions, learn from my mistakes, and make my movies. Because I made my movies, tonight I will be in Berlin to accept this overwhelming honour for lifetime achievement. I feel a little ashamed about being recognized for my lifetime achievement. The reason I feel so bashful is that I realize that I have not achieved anything solo. My films are all collaborations with great artists. And so, of course, my life, my family, is a collaboration.Now I also feel a little alarmed to be told I’ve lived a lifetime, because I’m not finished. I am not done! I want to keep on working, I want the thrill of discovering new things and scaring the crap out of others. I have to go back to some of the earlier scarier movies, but that’s another story.As long it brings me joy, and my audience finds joy and other human values in my films I am reluctant to say that it’s over. To be honest, I would love to beat Manoel De Oliveira’s record for directing my last film when 106. My father Arnold, my dad, lived to 103 1/2 so theoretically, I have the genes. Einstein will only know if I get the luck. Like all other filmmakers, I owe a huge debt to German cinema. F. W. Murnau, Ernst Lubitsch, Douglas Sirk, Robert Wiene, Fritz Lang, all pioneers, enlargers, and refiners of the way film reveals truth, including F. W. Murnau. I’ve been challenged by Fassbinder and Margarethe von Trotta, Wim Werners, Wolfgang Petersen and Volker Schlondorff among the directors of my era. This honour is special to me because I am a Jewish director. And I like to think that this is a small part of a larger effort to heal the broken places in history. This is what Jews call tikkun olam, the repairing and restoring the world. The Shoah Foundation was established in 1994 by me because I believe that Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi’s statement, “The opposite of justice” is not injustice. It is forgetting. Only when we are able to remember what happened, reconciliation is possible. The Shoah Foundation’s video archive contains testimony from Holocaust survivors, as well as testimony of atrocities and genocides around the globe. The Shoah Foundation has been a long-standing partner in Germany. The Berlin Film Festival, the German government, as well as private citizens, have joined us in interviewing witnesses and introducing documentaries. They also helped us spread educational materials and make our archives widely accessible throughout Germany and western Europe. The German people are willing to read their history and confront the lessons about antisemitism and bigotry – the harbingers and perpetrators of the Holocaust. The courage of the German people to resist fascists can be a lesson for other countries, such as mine. Only a nation can be called just if it resists the temptation to forget that we all have. After the 20
th10 century, maybe no nation should pretend or delude themselves that it is just. We shouldn’t discount the possibility of justice, and we shouldn’t stop striving for it. That pursuit is our best hope of finding meaning in life, and that begins with remembering.So, so I stand here in Berlin accepting the Golden Bear, and I have to confess – that bears really scare me! Even more than sharks! It’s okay to be scared. You can be grateful, bashful, and alarmed. Thank you. Thank you.
AntMan and The Wasp: Quantumania[cheers from audience]
buzzes at PS8.8m start in UK-Ireland boxoffice