Ann Bishop Mullany lives in Baton Rouge. She is unhappily married to John, a successful lawyer, and has never experienced an orgasm. She is in therapy. Graham Dalton is an old college friend of John. He is now a seeming drifter who, after nine years, returns to live in Baton Rouge.
Graham arrives to find Ann, who has no idea that John has invited Graham to stay with them until he finds an apartment. When John arrives home, Graham’s demeanor becomes remarkably more guarded, due in large part to John’s overt disapproval of Graham’s bohemian persona. They also discuss the fact that Graham’s college girlfriend, Elizabeth, is also living in Baton Rouge.
John is sleeping with Ann’s sister, Cynthia, a free-spirited bartender. He rationalizes it by blaming Ann’s frigidity. He frequently leaves his law office mid-day to meet with Cynthia, instructing his secretary to reschedule clients, even when they are already in the lobby waiting to see him. Ann makes an impromptu visit to Graham’s apartment, where she notices stacks of camcorder tapes around the television. When pressed, Graham explains that he interviews women about their sexual experiences and fantasies, on videotape. Ann, overcome with shock and confusion, leaves his apartment.
Sex, Lies, and Videotape (styled as sex, lies, and videotape) is a 1989 American independent drama film that brought director Steven Soderbergh to prominence. It tells the story of a man who films women discussing their sexuality, and his impact on the relationships of a troubled married couple and the wife’s younger sister.
The film won the Palme d’Or at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, and was influential in revolutionizing the independent film movement in the early 1990s. In 2006, Sex, Lies, and Videotape was added to the United States Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, Laura San Giacomo, Ron Vawter, Steven Brill, Alexandra Root, Earl T. Taylor, David Foil
Screenplay by: Steven Soderbergh
Cinematography by: Walt Lloyd
Film Editing by: Steven Soderbergh
Set Decoration by: Victoria Spader
Art Direction by: Joanne Schmidt
Music by: Cliff Martinez
Distributed by: Miramax Films
Release Date: August 18, 1989