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The Cinema of Steven SoderberghIndie Sex, Corporate Lies, and Digital Videotape$
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Andrew deWaard and R. Colin Tait

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165518

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165518.001.0001

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Trafficking Social Change

Trafficking Social Change

The Global Social Problem Film in the 2000s

(p.147) Chapter Nine Trafficking Social Change
The Cinema of Steven Soderbergh

Andrew deWaard

R. Colin Tait

Columbia University Press

This chapter isolates a unique cycle of films considered as the ‘global social problem film’ (GSP). This subgenre's characteristics and iconography are outlined in Traffic (2000, the first film in the cycle), Syriana (2005), The Informant! (2009), and Contagion (2011). As a genre cycle, the GSP is a result of postmodern genre hybridity, defined in this chapter as films whose hybridity is comprised of three main ingredients: the legacy of the original social problem film of early Hollywood cinema, including the use of melodramatic tone, with a focus on wider, global institutional problems; the distinct influence of documentary and docudrama, in an effort towards realism; and the distinct utilisation of a multi-linear, rhizomatic web-of-life plot line. These elements are usually spiced up with thriller, crime, and sardonic wit as the whole bastardised recipe occurs in a global melting pot.

Keywords:   global social problem film, GSP, Traffic, Syriana, The Informant!, Contagion, postmodern genre hybridity, global melting pot

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