In an “unapologetically sentimental” speech, Steven Spielberg told Harvard graduates how to be real-life cinematic heroes.
The legendary film director’s message: Speak up when you disagree with voices of authority.
“A hero needs a villain to vanquish, and you’re all in luck. This world is full of monsters. There’s racism, homophobia, ethnic hatred, political hatred and religious hatred,” Spielberg said at Harvard’s 365th commencement ceremony Thursday.
To combat those evils, Spielberg said, people need to study history in order to understand humanity — and learn to use a moral compass.
“[That is] the reason I so often make movies based on real life events,” Spielberg added.
A photo posted by Harvard University (@harvard) on May 26, 2016 at 10:12am PDT
The Jewish director added it was his own experiences with anti-semitism that led him to make movies like “Schindler’s List,” and to record personal accounts of genocide survivors through his USC Shoah Foundation.
He is a three-time Academy Award winner, including two for best director. He’s made more than 27 movies that have grossed more than $9 billion — including “Jurassic World,” “Transformers,” and classics like “Saving Private Ryan” and “Jaws.”
Spielberg also took what seemed to be a jab at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his immigration policies.
“We are a nation of immigrants…at least for now,” he said to chuckles.