Another Steven Soderbergh Experience : Authorship and Contemporary Hollywood
How do we determine authorship in film, and what happens when we look in-depth at the creative activity of living filmmakers rather than approach their work through the abstract prism of auteur theory? Mark Gallagher uses Steven Soderbergh’s career as a lens through which to re-view screen authorship and offer a new model that acknowledges the fundamentally collaborative nature of authorial work and its circulation. Working in film, television, and digital video, Soderbergh is the most prolific and protean filmmaker in contemporary American cinema. At the same time, his activity typifies contemporary screen industry practice, in which production entities, distribution platforms, and creative labor increasingly cross-pollinate.
Gallagher investigates Soderbergh’s work on such films as The Limey, Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels, Solaris, The Good German, Che, and The Informant!, as well as on the K Street television series. Dispensing with classical auteurist models, he positions Soderbergh and authorship in terms of collaborative production, location filming activity, dealmaking and distribution, textual representation, genre and adaptation work, critical reception, and other industrial and cultural phenomena. Gallagher also addresses Soderbergh’s role as standard-bearer for U.S. independent cinema following 1989’s sex, lies and videotape, as well as his cinephilic dialogues with different forms of U.S. and international cinema from the 1920s through the 1970s. Including an extensive new interview with the filmmaker, Another Steven Soderbergh Experience demonstrates how industries and institutions cultivate, recognize, and challenge creative screen artists.