Soderbergh’s no stranger to the kudos spotlight, including a directing Oscar for “Traffic” (the same year he was nominated for directing on “Erin Brockovich”) and the Cannes Festival’s Palme d’Or for “sex, lies and videotape.”
His new film, “The Good German,” could be said to have good awards genes, as the film draws heavily in its look, themes and setting from two award-winning classics, Michael Curtiz’s best pic winner “Casablanca” and Carol Reed’s Cannes champ “The Third Man.”
Soderbergh meticulously researched Curtiz’s production records (housed at “German” studio Warner Bros.) and actually used identical lenses for key shots in his black-and-white film.
But he also learned something from his earlier B&W film, 1991’s “Kafka.” “If you moved tonally one degree off in any scene, the whole picture ceases to work. You must be anchored to one consistent dramatic approach.”
To that end, Soderbergh recalls his actors commenting on “how weird” it felt to work in a style that matched the films of the 1940s. “I told them, ‘If it feels weird, you’re doing it right.’ “