Bubble (USA; 73 min.)

directed by:Steven Soderbergh
cast: Dustin James Ashley; Katherine Beaumier; Joyce Brookhart
Bruce says: "Had Robert Bresson with his penchant for non-professional actors used Mike Leigh’s improvisational techniques, he might have made a film similar to BUBBLE, an experimental film from Steven Soderbergh. A bold experiment it is and, in this viewer’s eyes, a sensationally successful one. The non-professionals bring an air of freshness to the screen and Soderbergh’s bare bones direction from a bare bones script creates a vérité rarely seen in an American film from a contemporary prestigious director.

"The story involves a triangle of co-workers at a doll factory. Martha and Kyle have worked at the factory for some time. Rose is hired to help fill a large order which is beyond the output range of the regular staff. Tensions begin to build. One of the three is jealous of the other two, one is oblivious of any relationship dynamics, and one is not playing with a full deck. The doll parts provide a surreal backdrop for a murder which becomes the focus of the story.

"To rehearse for the film the actors worked for a week at the doll factory, learning skills and technique. They were not given lines to memorize - almost all the dialogue in the film is spontaneous conversation based on a few key words or points given to the actors for each scene. As a result, much of the dialogue is autobiographical

"The soundtrack consists of punctuation from an acoustic guitar, nothing more. The HD video works to an advantage in providing a distinct visual style. Soderbergh credits Fassbinder and still photographer Joel Meyer for his inspiration. Many of the shots in the film have an austere, eerie beauty. Filmed in Parkersberg, West Virginia, and across the river in Ohio BUBBLE hits the mark in depicting an America where many drop out of high school, work two jobs or steal to make ends meet, and live with relatives while they illusively attempt to save money to get away.

"What a thrill it is to see that Soderbergh has the ability to return full circle to the simplicity of SEX LIES AND VIDEOTAPE. BUBBLE’s rough edges and the bleak setting may be too much for mass appeal. Much ado has been made over BUBBLE being released on DVD, in theaters and on pay-for-view simultaneously. What is important is that good films get reviewed and seen; how they are distributed should make no difference. 4 cats"