Steven Soderberg

1-7-09

I haven’t written much here about Mr. Soderbergh which is somewhat surprising. I tend to talk about him quite a bit and think about him even more, so this absence shows me just how wrongheaded I have been about posting here. I will lighten up and start posting more.

To sum up my feelings about Mr. Soderbergh briefly I will say this — I like his attitude about making movies and his role as a director. Whenever I read or see and interview with him or listen to a commentary on one of his movies I am always impressed. I have not heard much concerning Mr. Soderbergh of late and I had assumed this was because he had so many problems with his most recent film, the Che biopic. I can safely say my own distraction is the reason for this lack of news. After reading the following interview:
Steven Soderbergh Article it is quite clear he is as busy as ever.

What I like best about this director is his attitude concerning commercial and critical success. As most everyone knows his career began with a film that heralded a resurgence in American independent film (as well as numerous awards and critical acclaim). Since that time many of his films has been both commercial failures and poorly received by the critics. Despite this fact I have yet to encounter an interview or a commentary that expressed bitterness, resentment or finger-pointing for these failures. Instead what any reader or watcher will encounter is Mr. Soderbergh assuming all responsibility for these failures and a very cool and calm attitude concerning them. What he has said numerous times, and what I find to be most admirable, is that if he is the director and something in the film is not good or if the film itself does not work — then he is to blame. Not the actor, not the studio but him. It’s a very rare kind of statement for a director to make and it endears him greatly to me.

The above linked article is largely about his most recent endeavor, the Che Biopic, which runs somewhere around four and a half hours long and is being shown as two separate films. I suggest anyone interested in how such a film comes to be made (by here I am referring mostly to the length) read this article. Mr. Soderbergh is detailed in explaining the process and logic behind the creation of this film and allows those of us on the outside of the film industry a peek into this mysterious world.

I cannot stress strongly enough how helpful I find the comments and responses Mr. Soderbergh offers to any questions regarding his work. Rather than offering general statements he is specific in how decisions are made and why. In the case of this film he explains why the story ballooned from one section of Che’s life in Boliva to begin incorporating other important moments and how this affected everything else. I feel most filmmakers tend to gloss over these stages of the process of making a film in order to keep the story simple and I wish they did not. Being told of the way this film morphed over the years, and why he made the decisions he did to change the film in a step-by-step fashion, Mr. Soderbergh offers practical insights I think any emerging filmmaker will find both helpful and interesting.

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