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05 Sep 2011

Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh has denied reports that he is retiring from film-making.

"It's less dramatic that it sounds - it's just a sabbatical," the 48-year-old director told reporters at the Venice Film Festival.

In an interview on US radio in March, Soderbergh appeared to suggest that his next two films would be his last.

"When you see those athletes hang on one or two seasons too long, it's kind of sad," he told Studio 360.

However, speaking in Venice, where his latest film Contagion is featured in competition for the Golden Lion, he dismissed rumours that he was giving up film-making to paint, saying he was merely taking a break.

"I feel I need to recalibrate, so I can discover something new," he told The Observer, echoing words he used in a BBC Radio 4 interview in 2009.

"I'm out of ways of telling art."

Cannes breakthrough

Soderbergh became the youngest winner, at the age of 26, of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his 1989 film Sex, Lies, and Videotape, starring Andie MacDowell.

Ten years ago, he was nominated for the best director Oscar for both Traffic and Erin Brockovich.

But, speaking in March, he said: "When you reach the point where you're like, 'if I have to get into a van to do another scout I'm just going to shoot myself', it's time to let somebody else who's still excited about getting in the van, get the van."

In Venice on Saturday, Soderbergh gave no indication of how long the sabbatical may be, although reports suggest it could be as long as five years.

The director was joined by actors Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow for the world premiere of his new film Contagion in Venice.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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