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.
Mark Gallagher is Lecturer in Film and Television Studies in the Department of Culture, Film, and Media at the University of Nottingham and the author of Action Figures: Men, Action Films, and Contemporary Adventure Narratives. He is also coeditor of Scope: An Online Journal of Film and Television Studies.
Rejecting the romanticism of traditional auteurism, Mark Gallagher offers an original study of the manner in which film directors now are engaged in enterprises that cross the boundaries between independent and mainstream filmmaking; between mediums, from film and television to the Internet; and between nations. While giving Soderbergh his due as an eclectic and innovative artist, this comprehensive analysis reveals the fascinating set of industry conditions, collaborations, critical contexts, and other circumstances that have shaped his authorial signature. In doing so, this book provides an essential view of what it means to be a filmmaker today.
~Barbara Klinger, Professor, Indiana University
As much a contemplation on the state of making a film today as an insightful analysis of Soderbergh as a creative agent, Mark Gallagher’s Another Steven Soderbergh Experience provides a significant break in authorship studies. The book readjusts several issues about contemporary filmmaking: the so-called rebellion of the independent filmmaker; the shift of the authorship question from ‘who is the author?’ to ‘what does an author do in this economic and production environment?’; and the value of a ‘co-situated textual analysis’ as a useful method for discussing representations within production cultures. This is a must-read for scholars of film and media.
~Janet Staiger, William P. Hobby Centennial Professor in Communication and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Texas at Austin
Part One. Soderbergh and American Cinema
Chapter 1. Sex, Lies, and Independent Film
Chapter 2. Hollywood Authorship and Transhistorical Taste Cultures
Part Two. Authoring and Authorization
Chapter 3. Authorial Practice, Collaboration, and Location Production
Chapter 4. Critical Reception and the Soderbergh Imprint
Part Three. Soderbergh and Textuality
Chapter 5. Reading Soderbergh: Textuality and Representation
Chapter 6. Intertextual Conversations: Genre, Adaptations, and Remakes
Part Four. Soderbergh and Screen Industries
Chapter 7. Soderbergh and Television
Chapter 8. Boutique Cinema, Section Eight, and DVD
Appendix. Interview with Steven Soderbergh
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