Winner of the Palme d’Or and Best Actor awards at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, sex, lies, and videotape transformed the independent film industry and turned writer-director Steven Soderbergh into the envy of aspiring filmmakers everywhere. Sly, seductive, and coolly intelligent, the movie explores the sexual shenanigans and personal preoccupations of its four central characters, revolving around a selfish lawyer (Peter Gallagher) who responds to his wife by having an affair with her free-spirited sister (Laura San Giacomo). But when the lawyer’s college roommate (James Spader) arrives for an unexpectedly extended visit, the neglected wife (Andie MacDowell) is surprisingly responsive to his seductive hobby of videotaping women as they describe their sexual fantasies. It’s his way of compensating for impotence, but the curious wife considers this a sexual challenge, and Soderbergh turns sex, lies, and videotape into a fascinating chamber piece that puts a decidedly different spin on the consequences of infidelity. Balanced on a risky and finely tuned performance by Spader, the film delivers frisky passion and emotional intrigue, and yet much of its allure is found in the exchange of secrets and the hidden mysteries of sexual desire. –Jeff Shannon
At the age of 26, Steven Soderbergh permanently altered the face of independent cinema when he became the youngest-ever winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival for sex, lies and videotape, his feature-film directorial debut. A simmering exploration of the nature of modern relationships and the links between sexuality and voyeurism, the film was an international sensation that established its director as one of the golden boys of world cinema. Born in Georgia on January 14, 1963, Soderbergh grew up in Baton Rouge, LA, where his father was the Dean of Louisiana State University’s College of Education. While still in high school, Soderbergh enrolled in the university’s film animation class and began making short 16 mm films with second-hand equipment. After he graduated from high school, he went to Hollywood, where he worked as a freelance editor. Soderbergh’s time in Hollywood was brief, and he soon returned home, where he continued making short films and writing scripts… read more
The prolific filmmaker talks about money, intuition, digital style, and betraying the audience.
There’s something significant to me about movies that are shot, at least in part, in natural light. In the studio you can recreate any time, any place, any period. But there’s something about watching… read review
Not enough videotape. This film’s reputation essentially lies in its aid to the breakthrough of American “independent cinema”, which had been happening since John Cassavetes 30 years before and did… read review