Sex, Lies And Videotape (Steven Soderbergh, 1989)

1224 words - 5 pages

SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE (1989)Steven SoderberghThe story revolves around four characters. The first one is Ann, bored housewife, under therapy. She is married to John, a lawyer who cheats on her. His mistress is no other than Cynthia's sister Ann. Finally, Graham is an old friend of John’s, who comes to spend a few days at the couple’s house. Ann and Graham will learn to know each other and it's going to disrupt the lives of these four thirty-year characters tormented by their sexual lives.The film settles for conversations about sex, in a psychological context supported by a profound characterization of each of the characters. Indeed, it relies more on this characterization and this psychological study, tied by dialogues revealing uneasiness, doubts or seduction; than action or precise plot.That's how Soderbergh deals with the place of sex in society, in life and in marriage. Each of the characters contributes to a different aspect of this psychology:- Ann is uptight, "frigid; doesn’t want to be touched and finds that people give too much credit to sex;- Cynthia is perverse, even nymphomaniac, and thinks only of men.The two sisters are two extremes; and we may think that it is voluntarily exaggerated by both; in order not to be the most different from one another;- John is unfaithful;- Graham is impotent.Thus the director places the characters in parallel, facing each other; and the point where everyone will meet are Graham’s videos.SEQUENCE 1: BEGINNINGThe sequence is an global introduction to the entire film. Firstly, the Ann’s character; whose first word is "garbage": anything but sensual and attractive. She talks about her fears to her psychiatrist, character which will not immediately see: we stay focused on her, in a close-up shot. Thereby, since the first scene, we already feel closer to that character (which is speaking in a very intimate way).But the film doesn’t linger on her, since we are already introduced to the other main characters of the film, through a montage during which the voice of Ann confessing continues. We meet with the character of Graham, seen on the road before arriving in the city. The two characters do not know each other but the director anticipates the link between the two by this form of montage. For that matter, Ann also recalls that person she does not know, “a friend of her husband”, admitting that she had no desire of meeting him.At the same time we are introduced to her husband, John; whom we discover as he is from the first images: infidel and almost obsessed (he removes his ring and joins his mistress).Finally we are introduced to Cynthia, the sister, without really knowing (we learn that the two women are sisters in the following scene).This alternated montage between the four characters already sets the mature and tough tone of the movie. On one hand, Ann, worried and composed, seen in a fixed frame. On the other hand, John and Cynthia, dynamic, hasty and cheerful;...

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