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Movie-A-Day #20: Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989).

January 20, 2011

Today is National Camcorder Day. While you can be forgiven for not thinking much anymore about an obsolete form of media, it’s hard to deny the pop culture impact of putting video technology in the hands of average consumers. It brought about a lot of changes, not the least of which was in the way modern technology has come to mediate our personal interactions. It’s a phenomenon Steven Soderbergh examined in his debut feature, “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” where the introduction of a camcorder is enough to ignite the powder keg of emotions beneath the surface of a seemingly placid relationship. It was powerful stuff at the time, but it seems almost quaint now in our wired 21st century world. Much like the camcorder itself.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2011 8:21 am

    How quaint is it? Because I’ve never seen it, and wonder if it’s just too dated to really bother.

  2. Tina permalink
    January 20, 2011 8:57 am

    I saw it for the first time recently; say a year or so ago. It might have been scandalous back when it was made — the title of the movie certainly raised some eyebrows — but now it just seems like your run-of-the-mill sex thriller. And not a particularly thrilling one, either.

  3. January 20, 2011 9:03 am

    I think it’s mainly the technology that’s quaint, as well as the characters’ reactions to it. We’re so media saturated now that it’s easy to forget what life was like before the internet and ubiquitous mobile devices. I still think it’s a good movie; if it’s outdated, it’s in the notion of privacy that it assumes on the part of the audience. The college kids I work with everyday would probably react with a collective, “So?”

  4. January 20, 2011 10:55 am

    I may have to check it out. I generally like Soderbergh quite a lot — although I did recently feel almost slightly guilty for not exactly loving The Limey.

  5. January 20, 2011 11:13 am

    Yeah, “The Limey” wasn’t exactly Soderbergh’s best. Beyond Terence Stamp’s performance, there wasn’t a whole lot to it.

    • January 24, 2011 8:54 am

      I think its biggest fans tend to like it largely on an aesthetic level, on which I think it is genuinely interesting. From a film-making perspective, I think it’s worthy of visual study. I liked Stamp — and also Fonda and Guzman — but I felt ultimately there wasn’t enough story or narrative to add up to more than a collection of pretty shots.

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