Despite taking a semi-retirement from feature filmmaking, Sex, Lies and Videotape director Steven Soderbergh has taken to his website to release a new film project called Raiders. Stripped down of its vibrant colours and speech, the critically acclaimed director has turned Steven Spielberg’s action-adventure film Raiders of the Lost Ark into a silent movie. At first this may sound bizarre, but his intentions behind the piece are quite remarkable.
On his website, Soderbergh has stated that in removing the elements of sound and colour from Spielberg’s film, it allows viewers to concentrate and appreciate the art of cinematic staging. Clearly Soderbergh believes Spielberg to be a staging genius (which is undeniable), and he wrote on his website that the director “forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day (for example, no matter how fast the cuts come, you always know exactly where you are — that’s high level visual math shit)”.
And he is completely right. Watching the film is a great learning experience about narrative progression and it is truly wonderful to visualise. Not only does Soderbergh hone in on our perspective of filmmaking, the black and white cinematography looks spectacular. Soderbergh also made a point of addressing this on his website saying, “at some point you will say to yourself or someone THIS LOOKS AMAZING IN BLACK AND WHITE and it’s because Douglas Slocombe shot THE LAVENDER HILL MOB and THE SERVANT and his stark, high-contrast lighting style was eye-popping regardless of medium”.
The film is also accompanied by an electronic soundtrack, some of which were taken from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross compositions for The Social Network. I urge everyone to take a look at the sensation that is Raiders and to also check out some of his other features on the website, such as Psychos, where Soderbergh mashed together Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho with Gus Van Sant’s almost shot for shot remake of the film. Check out the film here.