Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

Steven Soderbergh on the state of cinema

“It’s about horses, not races.” Soderbergh gives a brilliant talk on cinema, movies, studios and filmmakers.

Thu, May 9, 2013, 18:05


“What is art for?… Art is simply inevitable. It was on the wall of a cave in France 30,000 years ago, and it’s because we are a species that’s driven by narrative. And art is storytelling. We need to tell stories. We need to tell stories to pass on ideas and information and to try to make sense out of all this chaos.”

Steven Soderbergh is one of my favourite directors. He’s brilliant because he is prolific, diverse, unapologetic about populism, but also still has to operate outside of the studio system when making a film about Liberace. He is smart – ‘Traffic’, ‘Sex, Lies and Videotape’. Fun – the ‘Oceans’ series. Surprising – ‘Magic Mike’. Sentimental and righteous – ‘Erin Brokovich’. And sometimes he gets it wrong. And then he moves on. I also like the way he shoots most of his stuff himself, which is especially impressive considering his films are so varied.

“I get it, it’s the studio, you need comedy, you need horror films, you need action films, you need animated films, I get it. But the point is, can’t some of these be cinema also?”

Of course Soderbergh has said he’s done with making movies, which is why this address he gave at the San Francisco International Film Festival is even more interesting. Listen to it here.