Steven Soderbergh's cinema-making star has blazed with "sex,
lies, and videotape," sputtered with "The Underneath," and flared
again with the acclaimed movie "Traffic."
"Steven Soderbergh: Interviews" charts the rise and fall and
rise of the writer-director-producer's surprising career from 1989
to 2001. From his "flavor of the month" status with his debut film
"sex, lies, and videotape" to his Academy Award-winning feature
"Traffic," Soderbergh's road to success is fraught with ups and
On each and every film, the book details such experiences as his
creative crisis surrounding his fourth film, "The Underneath," and
his rejuvenation with the ultra-low budget free-style
"Schizopolis," and the mainstream achievements that followed with
"Erin Brockovich" and "Traffic."
Spanning twelve years, these conversations reveal Soderbergh (b.
1963) to be as self-effacing and lighthearted in his later more
established years as he was when just starting out. He comes across
as a man undaunted by the glitz and power of Hollywood, remaining,
above all, a truly independent filmmaker unafraid to get his hands
dirty and pick up the camera himself.
Not only do the interviews provide a glimpse into the
filmmaker's aesthetics, but they also offer a history of the U.S.
independent film movement in the late 1980s and 1990s--the
explosion of "independent films," studios and film festivals, and
the Hollywood co-optation of such talents, Soderbergh included. The
collection also reveals the increasingly blurred boundaries between
independent and mainstream and Soderbergh's commitment to
revitalizing cinema from inside the system.
Anthony Kaufman is the former senior editor of "indieWIRE.com"
and is currently a Contributing Writer to indieWIRE.com, and is an
instructor of film and media journalism at New York University. He
has been published in numerous periodicals such as the "Village
Voice," "Cineaste," "Time Out New York," and the "Independent Film
& Video Monthly."
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