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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

'Keane,' Shaven: Soderbergh Trims Kerrigan Gem For DVD

This is interesting: The Washington Post reports (via Cinematical) that the recent DVD release of Lodge Kerrigan’s masterful Keane contains an alternate edit of the film by its executive producer Steven Soderbergh.
The Oscar-winner, to whom Kerrigan evidently sent his own cut before locking picture in 2004, “loved the film and told [Kerrigan] so, but I also sent him this version to look at, in case it jogged anything (it didn’t). In any case, we agreed it was an interesting (to us) example of how editing affects intent. Or something.”
The Post’s Michael O’Sullivan continues:

Despite being 15 minutes shorter than the already lean, 94-minute theatrical version, Soderbergh’s cut belies the cliche of the producer breathing down the director’s neck to make the film more “accessible.” Though the sequence of events has been pretty radically reshuffled — it’s a measure of the film’s open-ended, character-driven narrative that no sense is particularly lost or gained — neither version caters to what you might call multiplex tastes.

Rather, the changes affect subtler things such as pacing, style and mood — in short, the poetry — of what is already a very poetic piece. Soderbergh’s version, for instance, waits nearly a half-hour before revealing the nature of William’s search, while Kerrigan’s film introduces the character’s quest (perhaps delusional, as we discover) in the film’s first minutes.

I guess this is the part where I should say that you can ask Kerrigan all about it this spring at the Pioneer Theater, where The Reeler will be launching its “Reeler Presents” screening series May 20. Kerrigan will be on hand for a talk-show style Q&A and podcast with my colleagues Lawrence Levi (Looker, The Film Snob’s Dictionary) and Karina Longworth (Cinematical). More details will follow here, but if I am allowed to assign homework beforehand, I think this new edit might be Priority A.

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One Response to “'Keane,' Shaven: Soderbergh Trims Kerrigan Gem For DVD”

  1. jfigl says:

    After a demanding viewing of the original cut, I braved a look at Soderbergh’s version. In addition to the differences between the two already noted in your main entry, I would add that Soderbergh front-loads the film with many of Kerrigan’s most vivid, upsetting images, starting with Keane catching some sleep in the most restless of settings: a highway medium strip drenched in rain, with trucks and busses roaring by. Contrast this with Kerrigan’s initial image: the cold geometry of the Port Authority bus terminal exterior.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon