A Few Thoughts on Quentin Tarantino’s Plan to Retire | The New Yorker

Soderbergh knows one big thing, the cinema itself; for him, cinema is everywhere, and it speaks through him no matter what he does. Tarantino has a huge toy chest of knowledge and enthusiasm, an amazing collection of movies from the history of cinema stocked up in his mind; he gives their multiplicity the unity of his voice, his personality, his public image, and he is, so to speak, their delegate, their representative. Soderbergh has an idea of cinema; Tarantino has ideas about individual movies, which is why each one that he makes counts, why each matters so desperately. Soderbergh risks insignificance, merely vanishing; Tarantino risks the illusion of significance, being a nuisance. Soderbergh escaped from Hollywood in order to evade its limitations; Tarantino’s planned escape seems meant to evade his own. The very fear of risk, the sense of pride and even vanity with which he protects his name, could stand as the ultimate form of self-criticism.

I’ve never liked Taratino’s films very much but his stature at the end of 20th century cinema is great, and that time, from roughly 1985–2000 as far as I can tell, was more or less the end of cinema as we knew it, a material art, a physical process, an international conceit, high culture in spite of its commercial interests. Brody’s exposition of Soderbergh rings entirely true for me, as does his reading of Tarantino.