A book to decipher the work and spirit of director Steven Soderbergh published by Playlist Society, released on November 16, 2021

Since its Palme d’Or collected at Cannes in 1989, Steven soderbergh has directed around thirty feature films and series, produced films, including Christopher nolan (Insomnia) or Todd haynes (Far from paradise). Navigating between commercial opus carried by prestigious castings and more intimate films, he is the author of a complex and varied work, far from the obvious and with the intentions explored by Pauline Guedj in this precise and detailed work. In 140 pages, it offers a fascinating panorama of his profession as a director, but also as an editor, producer and screenwriter.

A director constantly on the go

Everyone has seen at least one movie of Steven soderbegh. More often Erin Brockovich with the Oscar winner Julia roberts in 2001 or an episode of the trilogy Ocean’s worn by the band at Georges clooney than Bubble Where Girlfriend Experience. The director likes to vary the frames of his cinema so as not to deny himself anything and to keep his freedom to create in his own way, which his Palme d’Or allowed him. The author cites certain films as milestones in her work. Out of reach in 1998 after 5 films with mixed critical and public success, English in 1999 for its subtle temporal mixtures combined with a disjointed narration, Che in 2008 with a story in 2 films on the life of Che Guevara, Magic mike in 2012 with Channing tatum as a stripper unable to break the glass ceiling of his social status, the series The Knick in 2014 and 2015 on the beginnings of surgery at new York at the beginning of the 20th century, Pauline Guedj attaches his story to the development of a filmography with multiple stakes. One of the most interesting parts relates to the societal impacts developed in the films. Erin Brockovich, Contagion and The Laundromat. Pollution, epidemic and money laundering affect everyone in a pernicious and hidden way, the director has shown it with art and subtlety in these 3 films. The author also discusses the issue of social blockages that force people to pursue less rewarding but lucrative careers as in Magic mike Where Girlfriend Experience. Far from being just a cerebral director, Steven soberbergh takes an interest in the world around him the better to flush out its paradoxes and its cold, cynical reality. The author’s explanations provide clarification that makes you want to review the works with a new perspective to let yourself be carried away by her relevant analyzes. As often in the works of the collection Society Playlist, the book does not remain only on the surface, it dissects and highlights the intentions, as well as the means of bringing them to the screen. A real painstaking job undertaken by an anthropologist with a clairvoyant mind and simple language (and not convoluted). In only 140 pages, great performance!

Steven Soderbergh anatomy of fluids is a beautiful dive into a well-thought-out work with many levels of reading. The director has combined form and substance to communicate his ideas and give viewers the keys to understanding our world. What make you want to discover or rediscover his works, even to read and reread this precious thoughtful!


Cannes, 1989. Steven Soderbergh receives the Palme d’Or at Cannes for his first feature film, Sex, Lies and Video. Thirty-five films and four seasons of series later, he has become a key figure in the American audiovisual industry. Prolific, daring, Soderbergh blurs the tracks, linking blockbusters (the trilogy of Ocean’s, Erin Brockovich, Contagion…) and intimate films (Bubble, Girlfriend Experience…). It is at the forefront of technical testing in digital capture and economic innovations for the production and distribution of films. Director, cinematographer, cameraman, editor, producer and sometimes screenwriter, he redefines the production process of a work. Steven Soderbergh, fluid anatomy paints a portrait of the artist and captures the themes that cross his career. Exploring time, spaces and bodies, Soderbergh is an observer of the contemporary world and the mechanisms that govern it.

Pauline Guedj is an anthropologist and journalist, senior lecturer at Lumière Lyon 2 University and contributor to the weekly Politis. She is the author of articles and books on African-American cultures, as well as Louis Malle, Views of America (Ovadia, 2020). She currently lives in the United States.

Editor: Society Playlist

Author: Pauline Guedj

Number of pages / Price: 160 pages / 14 euros

A book to decipher the work and spirit of director

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A book to decipher the work and spirit of director Steven Soderbergh published by Playlist Society, released on November 16, 2021