Most people, when they retire, do retiree sort of things. You know, go RV-ing or take up pottery classes or practice yoga or take that trip to Italy they've always wanted.
Self-proclaimed "retired" director , on the other hand, is tweeting a novella under the pseudonym of, sigh, @Bitchuation. I wish I had just made that up.
After Soderbergh's "State of Cinema" address at the San Francisco Film Festival held last week quickly went viral, and HBO Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra gearing up for a Cannes competition run, the alternately reclusive and flamboyant director is everywhere lately.
But now, the latest project to hold his interest is the Twitter novella, titled "Glue", which has appeared on the hyperactive social media site built for a generation made of ADHD and demands for instant gratification, in 140-character snippets (and occasional picture) at a time.
Don't feel like wading back through hundreds of Tweets to find out the plot? The New York Times has a synopsis:
The point of his experiment seems to be to isolate the minimal elements of a story. There is a protagonist — “you” — who has witnessed his own funeral, and who is involved in the globe-trotting pursuit of a mysterious object or substance identified as #&%#. Hopscotching among European capitals (London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome) you encounter various colleagues and enemies, all of them identified by a single letter (can’t waste characters!) including a femme fatale known as D.
The style — skeletal tough-guy sentences; cynical asides; pointillistic descriptions; bursts of violence — owes something to Dashiell Hammett, Samuel Beckett and maybe also the French nouveau roman of the ’50s, which specialized in chilly, knowing deployment of familiar narrative codes. But “Glue” is perhaps best understood as a Soderbergh film carried out by other means. The novella so far is both thrilling, with intimations of sex, danger and treachery, and cerebral, inviting you to admire its craft while also succumbing to its effects.
Whether you admire it as an attempt to capture cinema in a different medium or a pretentious attempt at art, you can't deny Soderbergh has a flare for the dramatic, an interesting take on the way in which we view storytelling.
Will he ever come out of "retirement" to helm another film? That remains to be seen. But for now, we can watch his latest attempt to tell a story unfold in front of our eyes, piece by little piece.
As a bonus, here's the full video of his speech from SFIFF, which was originally meant to be off the record, but Soderbergh graciously allowed the San Francisco Film Society to release: