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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Blood, gristle, tapestock and Steven: Soderbergh's double agentry

Steven Soderbergh is a double-agent between arthouse and multiplex, argues Ryan Gilbey in the Guardian. The blunt 44-year-old hyphenate had watched The Good German again the night before at the Berlin film festival in front of 2,000 viewers. “I became aware of just how extreme an experiment the film is… We were sitting there watching this … weird … movie. 21222024_ea06d55e34_m.jpgNot weird in a bad way, hopefully. But this strange process occurs as you watch it and go through different layers of feeling. My hope is that halfway through, the aesthetics fall away and you just deal with the narrative… What if Michael Curtiz had the freedoms in 1945 that I have today? If the Hays [C]ode hadn’t existed, what would movies have been like?” Hit and miss, surely, as as Gilbey notes, “[if]f there’s one director on the planet who can take bad notices on the chin, it’s Soderbergh. When it became clear to him that no one [was going tos ee] The Good German, he was straight on the phone to Warner Bros advising the distributor to scrap the planned wide release, repackage the film for the arthouse, and hit the college towns. “I don’t want to spend $15m chasing $2m,” he shrugs.” He’s also “sick” of people talking about how “everything’s great.” “I like to hear about the blood and gristle of the creative process. I hate these fucking interviews where it’s like there’s sunshine shooting out of the director’s mouth. So I try to be very careful about the syntax I employ. I don’t want to suggest, ‘We’ve done an amazing thing here’.” Studio and Indie® are much the same to Soderbergh: “The rules are the same. Wherever you are in the industry, no one will encourage you to do anything other than what you’ve successfully done before.” The important thing? “The important thing is not to panic.”

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“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster

“If there’s one rule Hollywood has metaphysically proven in its century of experimentation, it’s that there’s no amount of money you can’t squander in the quest for hits.

“Netflix has spent the past couple years attempting to brute-force jailbreak this law. Its counter-theory has seemed to be, sure, a billion dollars doesn’t guarantee quality but how about three billion dollars? How about five billion dollars? Seven?

“This week’s latest cinematic opus to run across no-man’s-land into the machine-gun emplacements has been the Jared Leto yakuza movie ‘The Outsider.’ Once again, debuting on Netflix, another thing called a movie that at one glance doesn’t look like any kind of movie anyone has ever seen before, outside of off-prime time screenings at the AFM.

“If you’re working at a normal studio, you have one or two of these total misfires in a year and people start calling for your head. How many is Netflix going on? Fifteen? Twenty? This quarter? Any normal company would be getting murdered over results like that.”
~ Richard Rushfield