Steven Soderbergh’s Address on the State of Cinema

At the San Francisco International Film Festival, semi-retired (His HBO Liberace film is still in the queue) Steven Soderbergh gave a 35 minute talk to participants on his feelings on cinema, art, the business and all those things in between. The organizers politely asked nobody to record or repost this (although several were live tweeting the event) but as Soderbergh laments right in his talk, nobody can keep a secret any more. Perhaps the ‘don’t record this’ request by the powers that be was simply reverse psychology. Nevertheless, that the cat is now out of the bag, so have a listen.

Bon Mots:

“Whenever people start to get weepy about celluloid,” Soderbergh thinks of a quote he attributes to Orson Welles: “I don’t want to wait on the tool. I want the tool to wait on me.”

“The problem is that cinema, as I define it and as something that inspired me, is under assault by the studios and, from what I can tell, with the full support of the audience.”

Quoting D. Rushkoff, “There’s no time between doing something and seeing the result and instead the results begin accumulating and influencing us before we’ve even completed an action. And there’s so much information coming at once – and from so many different sources- that there’s simply no way to trace the thought over time.”

“Psychologically, it’s more comforting to spend $60 million promoting a movie that costs 100, than it does to spend $60 million for a movie that costs 10.”

“If you’ve ever wondered why every poster and trailer and every TV spot looks exactly the same – it’s because of testing. It is because anything interesting scores poorly and gets kicked out.”

Kurt Halfyard
Resident culture snob.