«I sign the direction, but also the photography and editing of Let them talk and for me this film was another bet “says Steven Soderbergh talking about his recent work, appreciated and in some cases much discussed by American critics and audiences (it was launched overseas last December), which in Italy it will arrive on the main digital platforms (available for purchase or rent) from May 27th. “I really liked Deborah Eisenberg’s script based on the deepening of relationships between people: the author is also a teacher and observing human souls, listening to the voices of various existences is the inspiration for her stories”
The director defines it “an authentic act of love and research for cinema in all its classic or avant-garde forms. I don’t want to be too “technical” in illustrating my work, but Let them talk it also demonstrates my conviction: a director must have maximum freedom, anyone with a passion for cinema can shoot medium-sized shorts or feature films, a smartphone is enough and you can do what you want ». As far as viewing is concerned, however, he has no doubts: “I hope that cinemas will once again become the primary place to show a film to the public”.
The plot of Let Them Talk
What is it about Let them talk? The protagonists are a group of women who get together on a cruise between New York and Southampton. «Writer Alice Hughes (Meryl Streep) is terrified of airplanes and to go, after winning the Pulitzer Prize, to England to receive another highest award, she decides to make the trip on a steamer. With her there are as her guests two friends since college essays, Susan and Roberta (Candice Bergen and Dianne Wiest), and her nephew Tyler (Lucas Hedges), whom she loves deeply as if he were her own child. Alice and her friends’ journey unfolds day after day as her new agent Karen (Gemma Chan) joins the group and finds herself in the center of a kind of love affair with Tyler, almost mesmerized by his personality“.
The cast of the film
The cast ranges from (multiple) prizes Oscar Meryl Streep and Dianne Wiest to Candice Bergen and the young but no less good Lucas Hedges, former star of Manchester by the Sea and of Boy Erased: «I have chosen with extreme care all the protagonists and supporting actors. It was just us on the Queen Mary 2 ship, which was the set for two weeks: no big crew, no blockbuster equipment “says Soderbergh, who he asked the actors to improvise as in his previous film, Unsane (2018).
“It was a natural process. They have “taken possession” of the story on a psycho-physical level, each one has really given their truths to the role, relationships and rivalries on the ocean liner. I wanted the conversations, the clashes, the encounters to be more real than ever, for the different characters to be genuine, authentic in everything and never Hollywood-style stereotypes. Let them talk it is an ensemble film and he needed first of all that the actors make the characters their own in every sense, that they put them on fire in the actions and in the dialogues with their personalities. Also because not using stage lights but only natural light everything had to be spontaneous, truthful ».
“Particularly the agent’s character was not fully defined in the script, they completed it, enriched the dialogues and daily exchanges between the actors ». For this he does not spare compliments to Gemma Chan: «He had won me his interpretation in Crazy & Rich, but young people know her above all as the Minn-Erva of Captain Marvel. The real people, not the stars, are the protagonists of this film ».
Soderbergh, an independent director
In the vast panorama of American filmmakers Soderbergh, born in 1963, has had a special place since his international debut with Sex, lies and videotape, launched on the sly by Sundance where he had won the audience prize and the jury prize and then winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989.
Authentic independent, refractory to any Hollywood lure of the studios, he had to wait for an Oscar nomination until 2001, when he received two nominations at the same time: for Erin Brockovich – Strong as the truth (which earned Julia Roberts Best Actress Award) and for Traffic, winner for Best Director. Since then, thanks to the always special films, from the trilogy of Ocean’s Eleven, the link between pop and cinephile culture, in Magic Mike with Channing Tatum e The Logan scam with Daniel Craig, Soderbergh is a leading director always ready for any experimentation, as well as the author, editor and cinematographer of many of his films.
There are also many awards for his two television projects: the excellent Behind the candlesticks (2013) with Matt Damon and Michael Douglas engaged in the reconstruction of the life and talent of the pianist Liberace e The Knick (2014). «Today cinema and television are two allies with infinite possibilities, especially for young people who want to do my job».
Interview with Steven Soderbergh
Let them talk is it a comedy or a melodrama?
The theme seemed perfect for a comedy that is also a drama set on a cruise ship: the protagonist is the lead actress in the film, the enclosed space of the ship is like a stage.
What are the main themes of the story?
“I was fascinated by the idea that the mature women of the story would reveal their true personalities, the failures and successes of their lives as the days passed. Alice’s young nephew becomes a sort of narrator because much of the film and the characters are “seen” and told through the eyes and voice of Tyler, who does not manipulate anyone but makes his own discoveries and considerations. The journey of the protagonists becomes the journey of the audience. Let them talk it’s a film that questions the ego of each character ».
Did you also shoot this film with your smartphone?
“No, but I used a new and small camera, the Red Camera from the Red Digital company which only produces digital cameras and accessories for digital cinematography. Such machines had already been used by director Peter Jackson and I myself had brought two prototypes of the Red One into the jungle for my film. Che – The Argentine And Che – Guerrilla (2008). But much progress has been made since then and many young people now use their holographic smartphones to shoot films and documentaries. Technologies have changed communications, now they are changing and helping cinema ».
Is this the future of cinema?
“Technology is making great strides, taking us elsewhere, but people with all their problems and feelings remain the same. In the film there is a sequence in which Alice’s nephew tells the writer’s new agent: “Everything, even in sexual or friendly romantic relationships, had to be very different when you were a girl”; and she replies: “Actually no”. Technology is now part of our world, but people are and always will be the arbiters of their lives ».
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