Battle of Directors: Richard Linkater vs. Steven Soderbergh
by Sam Fragoso
Battle of Directors is a weekly column that pits two filmmakers against one another, sheds light on their respective filmographies, and then asks readers to state which director they prefer. Thoughtful discourse and discussion is encouraged and desired. Enjoy!
Richard Linklater and Steven Soderbergh share a rare gift that even the most talented of filmmakers don’t have: the unique ability to create wholly original and wildly different films over a single, captivating and enlightening career.
If you’ll indulge me for a moment, consider the works of Richard Linklater. A Southern-born and -raised auteur who managed to create some of the purest forms of love ever to be seen on screen with the Before Trilogy. Conversely, he then makes daffy and juvenile (though unexpectedly enjoyable) films like School of Rock and Bad News Bears.
Steven Soderbergh has followed a similarly diverse and eclectic cinematic route. By just taking a look at Soderbergh’s recent endeavors - Contagion, Haywire, and Magic Magic - you’ll get a good sense of how ingenious and distinctive his career has been.
The dissimilar and fascinating filmographies of Linkater and Soderbergh don’t make much of any sense. Then again, I guess we should be thankful art never quite has to.
Ten example films from Richard Linklater:
Dazed and Confused
School of Rock
Me and Orson Welles
Bad News Bears
A Scanner Darkly
Ten example films from Steven Soderbergh:
And Everything is Going Fine
Sex, Lies, and Videotapes
Out of Sight
So which filmmaker do you prefer? The choice is yours.