Author Topic: (Soderbergh) FIVE INFLUENTIAL FILMS  (Read 1546 times)

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« on: July 15, 2003, 07:25:50 PM »

For Steven Soderbergh, the key to making movies lies in what you don't see. "That's the biggest difference between American films and non-American films, this compulsion to show everything, to explain everything," explains the Oscar-winning director. "Can you use the audience's expectations to your advantage by subverting them, while also resisting the impulse to show everything?" In Full Frontal, for instance, Soderbergh all but avoided the nudity such a sensationalistic title promised and instead chose to expose his characters in unexpected emotional ways. On the other hand, he caused quite a stir for flashing George Clooney’s derriere in Solaris, a fresh adaptation of the Stanislaw Lem novel that inspired Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1961 movie, where such “revelations” made sense in the context of the Big Picture. And to make sense of the Big Picture, it helps to know where Soderbergh is coming from. Here, in his own words, are five films that have influenced the movies he makes...

-Julien Donkey-Boy
(1999, dir: Harmony Korine, starring: Ewen Bremner, Chloë Sevigny)

"For Full Frontal I was watching this Harmony Korine film, Julien Donkey-Boy, which I thought was really fascinating. I wondered why people who write about films hadn't written more about this film because I thought it was pretty extraordinary. It was trying to do things that aren't often attempted in American films, and I thought the aesthetic of it was really interesting. I was curious how they achieved it, so I tracked down a couple of interviews with the director of photography to find out what they did. For all its stylization, it seemed to have a quality of real life to it that I thought was very compelling. I really wanted to emulate it, so I watched it repeatedly and made some of the key people on the crew watch it so they'd get an idea of what we were after. I think they were all terrified that I was going to make that film or make something that challenging. It's a really demanding movie to watch."

-2001: A Space Odyssey
(1968, dir: Stanley Kubrick, starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood)

"Solaris comes from a combination of influences. There were three that sort of existed alongside each other: I was watching every Antonioni film [Blowup, L'Avventura] I could get my hands on, all the Kubrick films and all the Tarkovsky films. I was also watching everything that Gordon Willis ever shot [The Godfather trilogy, All The President's Men and Annie Hall to name a few]. I was trying to pull different things from each. I wanted the sensuality and palette control of Antonioni, I wanted the visual precision and intellectual exploration of Tarkovsky and Kubrick, but unfortunately it was just me. [laughs] Clearly, I was watching 2001 a lot. I got a 70 mm print and screened it for the crew, which was either a really good idea or a really bad idea because they all looked at me afterwards like, "So what are you going to do?" "

-The Third Man
(1949, dir: Carol Reed, starring: Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles)

"Misplaced affection. For all its visual and verbal fireworks, it's this sense of unrequited feeling that stays with me the most. The sense of loss, and that was very important for Solaris anyway. With Full Frontal, I wanted it to be unruly because life is unruly, and it doesn't always make sense. Some things connect and some things don't, and I thought for a small amount of money, you're allowed to indulge yourself like that."

-All the President's Men
(1976, dir: Alan J. Pakula, starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford)

"It's just a perfect movie in my opinion, a perfect synthesis of all the various elements that are at hand when you make a film. Everything from writing to directing to cinematography to production design to editing to sound, it's a perfectly unified piece of cinema. It's so secure. It's like a film made by somebody who believes in the material and believes in the actors and doesn't cheat, doesn't try to create false drama."

-Hiroshima Mon Amour
(1959, dir: Alain Resnais, starring: Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada)

"Another one of these perennials and something I watched for Solaris quite a bit was Hiroshima Mon Amour, which was Alain Resnais's first feature and which is still one of the most beautifully constructed movies that anyone has put together. His use of juxtaposition and montage in that film is still the standard. It's so advanced, it's so modern, I can't imagine what it was like to see that film in 1959. I mean, nobody had ever made a movie like that before. And again, what was remarkable about it is that it was all in service of getting you further and further into the emotional life of the characters. It wasn't technique for technique's sake. It was there to serve the emotional needs of the story, and that's something that you have to constantly remind yourself about."
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 11:59:28 AM by Jeremy Blackman »
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2003, 04:35:02 PM »
Wow, this is really cool. Thanks a lot for this. I'm going to keep this. The more I hear about Julien Donkey Boy, the more I want to see it even though I told myself I would hate it. It gets praised by a lot of different people that you wouldn't expect to like it. I love all his other choices so I might have to give it a shot.


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