Friday, November 13, 2015

Soderbergh, The Knick, and Manson

Movies' most energetic director
Online magazine Vulture followed Steven Soderbergh as he shoots an episode of his show The Knick. Soderbergh not only directs, but he is the principal camera operator as well, and his energy leads an actor on the show to say Soderbergh is "like a dancer." His energy has been apparent for 26 years.
Since his 1989 debut, the Cannes Palme d’Or winner sex, lies and videotape, he has directed 25 features (including the four-and-a-half-hour, two-part biopic Che) plus nearly 30 hours of TV (including the 2003 HBO political satire K Street, each episode of which was plotted, scripted, shot, cut, and broadcast in five days). He is one of the few American directors to claim two Oscar nominations for Best Picture during a single calendar year, for 2000’s Erin Brockovich and Traffic; he won Best Director for the latter. Every one of his movies — including the comparatively glossy heist thrillers Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen — was produced for what is, by contemporary American studio standards, chump change.
Read the profile here. 

The Manson Family:
A podcast called You Must Remember This recently did a 12-part series about Charles Manson. I am only three episodes in, but I am already hooked (and it's not easy to hook me--I actually didn't finish Serial [don't tell anyone!]) I have never been a fan of Manson lore -- in fact, I hate our society's glorification of serial killers, as evidenced by stuff like this garbage (see left).

What makes this podcast so great is that it puts Manson in context. It gives his messed-up backstory (sexual abuse, crime, lots of prison time), then talks about his slow and deliberate transformation into a con-man. He becomes adept at locating needy people and manipulating them into doing his bidding. The show is suggesting so far that he's not crazy, he just plays crazy, but as I'm only three episodes in, I don't know what the final analysis will be. The last show I listened to, the third episode, was mostly about the Manson family's relationship to Beach Boy Brian Wilson, and it suggests that Wilson never recovered from his connection to the family. Filled with vivid evocations of 60s LA (and the malaise of late 60s LA), You Must Remember This is a must-listen podcast for me right now.

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