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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

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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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch