Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 3:37 pm 
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A New York Fim Festival selection. A Magnolia Pictures release. "The first film from 2929 Entertainment to be released simultaneously on DVD, in theaters and on TV, will make its debut on Jan. 31 [2006]"-Scott Hettrick,

Brave new world: a glimpse of the regional native

Soderbergh is highly effective on new territory with Bubble, a low-budget film about three working-class people in a doll factory and a crime. It doesn't seem as if he's taken any movies as his models, though some of the conventions of a police procedural take over toward the end. The images shot in HD of the factory, the houses, roads, and people of Ohio and West Virginia could have been taken not from movies but from 1970's and 1980's still photographers like Robert Adams, or particularly from Lee Friedlander's Factory Valleys.

Debbie Doebreier (Martha), Dustin James Ashley (Kyle), and Misty Dawn Wilkins (Rose) come from West Virginia and Ohio. Decker Moody (Dectective Don) is a West Virginia police detective.

Coleman Hough, who wrote the screenplay, has kept it naive and simple. When a man learns his daughter is in jail for murder, he says, "Oh, I see." The attractive young Kyle and the doughty Martha go to and from work and have lunch together. At one point Martha snaps a photo of Kyle because he's her "best friend," she says. When young, pretty Rose is hired to help fill a big order at the doll factory, she joins the other two at lunch, and starts going off with Kyle for a smoke afterward: the equation has changed. Then Kyle and Rose plan a date, but Martha doesn't know about it. Because everyone is so inexpressive, it's not clear that any of them even know what they're feeling. You might contrast the arch cleverness applied to naive people working in a nowhere Walmart-like store in Miguel Arteta's 2002 The Good Girl. These people in Bubble just are, and the murder that happens is like lots of murders that don't make it to the screen that just happen, the perpetrators being people the victim trusted, nobody knowing how it all happened. The Voice called Bubble "aggressively disorienting in its banality," but taken on its own terms, it works. Deft manipulation of non-actors and precise, attractive use of HD photography are important factors in the film's economy and success.

Froim the London Independent: 'Bubble is the first of six low-budget films Soderbergh and producer Gregory Jacobs will make over the next five years. All will be shot on Hi-Definition (HD) cameras; each will be filmed quickly, with a small crew (Bubble was shot in 18 days with a crew of six); and each will "star" non-actors who, with Soderbergh's help, will write their own script.'

Section Eight, the George Clooney/Steven Soderbergh coproduction company, has given or will give birth to:

Big Empty, The (2005)
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)
Criminal (2004)
Far from Heaven (2002)
Full Frontal (2002)
Garland Bunting Project (2005)
Good German, The (2006)
Goodnight, and Good Luck (2006)
Insomnia (2002)
Jacket, The (2005)
K Street (2003) TV Series
Michael Clayton (2006)
Ocean's Eleven (2001)
Ocean's Twelve (2004)
PU-239 (2006)
Rock Star (?)
Rumor Has It (2005)
Scanner Darkly, A (2006)
Syriana (2005)
Tishomingo Blues (2005)
Unscripted (2004) TV Series
Untitled Neil Jordan Thriller (2005)
Welcome to Collinwood (2002)

The Independent again: 'Yet none of this helps to define a Steven Soderbergh movie, because there is no formula. The blockbuster lives side by side with the low-budget effort - just for the pleasure of it, of doing it all, of conducting the grand, lavish display and the careful still life at the same time. 'Even if one is designed to kill the other one, in a way, to me they're totally connected - that connects them.' What's "that"? I don't know... but Soderbergh is a complex man.

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