Film School: The Unconventional Steven Soderbergh

“You can be more adventurous.”

From his debut feature Sex Lies & Videotape to commercial hits Magic Mike and the Oceans movies; from his acclaimed series Behind the Candelabra and The Knick to his more experimental features The Limey and The Girlfriend ExperienceSteven Soderberg‘s extensive filmography reads as a catalogue of approaches. The director and producer, who is also often his own director of photography and editor, leaps from one genre to the next with each subsequent project. Oh, and his own website is full of interesting explorations, interviews with cinematic royalty, and re-edits of classic movies (“for educational purposes”).

In this video essay, Declan Taaffe offers that Soderberg assumes and capitalises on the televisual literacy of the average viewer, and examines the director’s unconventional approaches to storytelling.

If you’d like to hear more from Soderberg’s thoughts on the film industry, I highly recommend watching his State of Cinema Address at the San Francisco International Film Festival:

Film maker and video essayist Patrick (H) Williams looks at how Soderberg’s heist movies are really about the film-making process itself, and takes lessons as a film-maker from Soderberg’s own independent career path:

And and AND: as a fan of film (see: his black & white, silent re-edit of Raiders of the Lost Ark), please geek out with me, won’t you, over Soderberg’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf commentary – with no less than its director, Mike Nichols:

Further Reading

  • Nathalie Sejean at Mentorless quotes “Steven Soderbergh on the Three Major Turning Points in His Career”…
  • … which is, in turn, taken from Soderberg’s full-length interview with DGA Quarterly