Sex, Lies, and Videotape by Steven Soderbergh (1989, United States) is an American independent film, that was written in eight days by the director himself during a cross country trip and that brought him to be famous overnight .  It won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival at 1989, and was deemed “culturally historically” or aesthetically. It also a film that is notable for being the breakout film for the decade-old Miramax independent film studio, and Miramax became the studio most closely associated with quality independent film making.

The publicity and commercial success of Sex, Lies, and Videotape helped fuel a boom of festivals, art-house multiplexes, cable stations, and video releases that fostered the release and exploitation of independent cinema. The film set the scene for cinematic possibilities and also a template of sorts for Miramax’s early 1990s cinema of quality transgressions: The GriftersThe Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her LoverDelicatessenThe Crying GameReservoir DogsThe PianoPulp FictionHeavenly Creatures and others. “Independent” cinema became a euphemism for formulaic character studies that had little to do with any kind of alternative culture or actual financial anarchism. The film, by presenting an alternative heterosexuality in which every sexual act and relationship is non-normative may also have also helped the door for the heralded New Queer Cinema (PoisonParis Is BurningSwoon, etc) that immediately followed on the festival circuit in 1990-91.


This film is also very important for Steven Soderbergh’s career, which became a recognized director of both mainstream and arthouse film, and also the launch of careers of many actors.

Steven Soderbergh circles around the ever shifting pattern of contemporary sexual politics, shedding light on the fears and desires of men and women, the difference between sex and love, the destructiveness of lying, and the danger of voyeurism and detachment as a way of life for the video generation. In her book Courage My Love, Merle Shain wrote of contemporary relationships: “Emotional support is the only thing we really need each other for now. And if we aren’t able to do that for each other, there won’t be any reason to be together at all.” Until more couples realize that truth, the weather in the world of sexuality will remain overcast.


This story is all about the mind games and of cause sex itself, and the conversations between the actors are more or less erotic. Every character in the film may seems to have very complicated mind sets but it’s all just revokes around their personal sex life, 4 different kind of characteristics, who’s inter link by friendship or kinship.

The film’s narrative and character psychology focuses on independence: from sibling obligations, from traditional marriage, from personal baggage.


Two who were married with each other John (Peter Gallagher) and Ann (Andie Macdowell), was not satisfied with them sex life, but both of them did not see it as problem, while the other two, one was Ann sister, Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo) and the last one is Graham (James Spade) who was John‘s College roommate, who is dangerous, who uses videotapes the sexual fantasies of woman of what they want to do or did in their sexual life and lastly he somehow able to see through people’s thinking too.Image

But then sex is only beginning of their mysteries, the scene won’t work if not for the acting of the actors themselves (imagine the acting were not good that will may the whole movie into comedy) It was a risk taking for the film.

“Charles Looi is a young crazy producer and script writer, which trying to find his place in the filming industry, leaving his name in the film history.

Inspired by director like “Steven Spielberg” and movies like “The Last Samurai”, “Black Hawk Down”, “Tears of the Sun” and “Hachiko”

He strives to inspire others as much as how he got inspired by others too.”


– En.wikipedia.org, Sex, Lies, and Videotape – Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

[online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex,_Lies,_and_Videotape

[Accessed: 22 Jun 2013].

– Sex, Lies, and videotape. http://www.rogerebert.com /reviews/sex-lies-and-videotape-1989

01 August.1989. [Accessed: 22 Jun 2013].

– En.wikipedia.org, Steven Soderbergh  – Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

[online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Soderbergh

[Accessed: 22 Jun 2013].

– Steven Soderbergh  http://www.theyshootpictures.com /soderberghsteven.htm

[Accessed: 22 Jun 2013].

– Flowtv.org. 2012. Rewind: sex, lies, and videotape at 20  Lucas Hilderbrand / University of California, Irvine | Flow. [online] Available at: http://flowtv.org/2009/09/rewind-sex-lies-and-videotape-at-20%C2%A0%C2%A0lucas-hilderbrand%C2%A0%C2%A0university-of-california-irvine%C2%A0%C2%A0/ [Accessed: 7 Jul 2013].

– Spiritualityandpractice.com. 2013. Spirituality & Practice: Film Review: sex, lies, and videotape, directed by Steven Soderbergh. [online] Available at: http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/films/films.php?id=5028 [Accessed: 7 Jul 2013].


3 thoughts on “Sex, Lies, and Videotape

  1. Hi Charles, you mentioned in your essay; ‘ It won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival at 1989, and was deemed “culturally historically” or aesthetically.’ But you didn’t further elaborate. Who deemed it so? Why did that person/organization say so? You should quote Roger Ebert’s words if you agree with them if he speaks about how the film has changed film history or affected the film industry. This seems like a synopsis of the story. I think you should put more emphasis on the cultural, historical and aesthetical significance of the film in your essay rather than the plot. (:

  2. Building on with what Edna said, I think that you should identify the themes (what the director wanted to achieve with this film) and the cinematography (the aesthetic appeal) of the film. A bonus point could go to identifying the difference between this film and other mainstream films. Critics’ response should also be incorporated to strengthen the essay.

  3. I’ve added some stuff to build on the breakthrough of this film and what the director wanted to do with this film. Hope this helps with improving your essay!

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