written by Peter Biskind
FFC rating: 5/10
by Bill Chambers "Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film," the subtitle of Peter Biskind's latest slipshod industry exposé Down and Dirty Pictures, ought to be reworded "The Rise of the Miramax and Sundance Independent Film." An extremely narrow-focused chronicle of the indie landscape after it was made procreant by Steven Soderbergh's sex, lies, and videotape, the book, in a manner not unlike Soderbergh's Traffic (whose making is touched on therein), alternates passages retracing Miramax's long journey up its own ass, Sundance's peaking, and October Films' head Bingham Ray's consummation of self-fulfilling prophecies. It's a hastily published tome--you can smell the ink drying in the preface, which brings up the recutting of the Christmas 2003 release Bad Santa--at a loss for an ending, what with Miramax and Sundance proving ultimately unassailable, however much Biskind mourns their metamorphoses into more commercially-minded enterprises. This seems the most efficient way to damn the hyperbole of Biskind's prose, seeing as how Down and Dirty Pictures charts a course for an Apocalypse that fails to materialize, at least with any tragic weight.