Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Schizopolis (Steven Soderbergh, 1996)

Steven Soderbergh is another director I haven't had much patience with; to me, he just seems like an Oscar-magnet, big-budget (yet still sort of indie) filmmaker. I liked Traffic and sex, lies and videotape enough (although not nearly as much as other people), but I haven't enjoyed anything else he's done. Until Schizopolis, that is. So experimental that I can hardly believe that it got made at all, much less by a Hollywood filmmaker. The story of two different men (both played by Soderbergh himself), one, a speechwriter for a Scientology-like philosopher, the other, a dentist who is having an affair with the speechwriter's wife. Also, there's an exterminator who ends up making a documentary about attacking people and exposing his genitals. Woah.

Soderbergh's performance is genuinely funny, with Fletcher Munson, the speechwriter, speaking to his wife in generalities like "Generic greeting!" The scenes with his wife are hilarious, yet painful; later in the movie, the other men Mrs. Munson meets literally speak a different language than her. The main theme of the movie is the inability in modern life to communicate, not only at home, but on the job and really with anyone in your life. There's not much I can say about this film, which means that if I start thinking about and talking about the subtleties and surrealism in the film, I don't think I'll ever stop. For all his serious films, Soderbergh made in Schizopolis a funny, meaningful, and at times poignant movie about all kinds of relationships in modern society. I will have to see this again and again to really appreciate its genius, and I think I will buy the Criterion DVD, which offers a fittingly surreal commentary track where Soderbergh interviews Soderbergh.


RIYL: Surrealism
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