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Monday, July 21, 2014

Schizopolis (1996) d. Steven Soderbergh

Movie Review
Schizopolis (1996)
d. Steven Soderbergh
Criterion Collection #199

  So like, lesser films of greater film makers- that is a big Criterion Collection category, presumably because they are available and lack prior DVD editions.  Schizopolis was made during Soderburgh's self imposed Hollywood exile after his break-out film Sex, Lies & Videotape, before he settled into the type of guy who could drop 100,000,000 grossing pictures in back-to-back years.  Schizopolis actually stars Soderburgh himself in a double role.  The phenomenon of doubling is seemingly at the center of 400 years of narrative story telling- the popular "early" example is Doctor Jeckl and Mr. Hyde but there were doubles long before that.

  Soderburgh plays Fletcher Munson, a speech writer for a Scientology type religion/marketing outfit.  his double is a dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Korshek.  There are long periods where one or both of the characters speak in an un subtitled foreign language.  An early scene between Munson and his wife is conducted entirely in generic descriptions of verbal interactions, "Unenthusiastic greeting. Terse description of day at work, etc." spoken by both characters.

    Soderburgh adds extra edge by casting his soon-to-be-ex wife as the love interest of both characters.  Schizopolis is kind of funny the way Godard is kind of funny, not very.

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