Starring James Spader, Andie MacDowell and Laura San Giacomo
Written and directed by Steven Soderbergh
Production year 1989
Running time 100 minutes
sex, lies and videotape is perhaps the single most important American independent movie of the last 30 years. It put the Sundance Festival on the map, made a name for Miramax and Harvey Weinstein and significantly raised the profile of non-studio films in a similar way to Easy Rider in the late 1960s. The film was made for $1.2 million and took over $36 million worldwide.
This is the debut feature of director Steven Soderbergh, one of the most interesting and diverse directors working today. His work includes low budget dramas, documentaries and genre films alongside star vehicles such as the highly successful Erin Brockovich. He has collaborated with George Clooney on a number of occasions - most notably in the Oceans 11 series.
sex, lies and videotape is set in Baton Rouge Louisiana and tells the story of Ann, her husband John and her sister Cynthia and the impact on their lives of a drifter called Graham. Graham's practice of interviewing women about their sexual fantasies on camera sets off a chain of events that changes everything.
The script, written by Soderbergh in 8 days during a cross country road trip, is intense and darkly comic and the performances - particularly James Spader as the mysterious Graham are finely nuanced.
Soderbergh was only 26 when he made sex, lies and videotape and became the youngest ever director to win the Palme d'or at Cannes. He recently declared that he is to give up film making in favour of painting full time - whether he will do so remains to be seen...