Inspired by the writings of Jean Genet, this film deftly interweaves a trio of transgressive tales — “Hero,” “Horror” and “Homo” — with thrillingly different cinematic styles in color and black and white. Unsettling, unforgettable and thoroughly entertaining. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival. –AFI
Filmmaker Todd Haynes is known for making provocative films that subvert narrative structure and resound with transgressive, complex eroticism. The content of his work has made Haynes the subject of both acclaim and controversy, a whipping boy for debates about NEA funding and a figurehead in the new queer cinema. Although he doesn’t characterize himself as a gay filmmaker who makes exclusively gay films, he has pointed out in interviews that to do this would be taking only the content instead of the form of his films into consideration; Haynes’ name has become synonymous with that cinematic movement and its work to both expose and redefine the contours of queer culture in America and beyond. Born January 2, 1961, in Los Angeles, Haynes grew up in nearby Encino. He developed an interest in film at a young age, and while still a high school student, he produced his first film, a short about contemporary teenage life entitled The Suicide (1978). Haynes went on to study at Brown University… read more
For me the explicit homage to Genet worked the least well: so studied in its attempt to channel him (though the shot of the white petals becoming colored on the boy as scapegoat was amazing)The other two are very knowing pastiches as well but it isnt so much each vignette by itself but the intercutting & the pacing that work well, accumulating malaise by the minute
Haynes' ode to Genet. Left me a bit cold to be honest. "Homo" is oddly unsexy (unlike its inspiration, Un Chant D'Amour). "Horror" employs a clever metaphor but seems a bit obvious these days (though Haynes evokes the B-movie aesthetic perfectly). I liked "Hero" the best, the ending of which was the most powerful moment in the film.
The style of the Homo vignette recalls so vividly the films of Jarman and Pasolini in their gritty naturalism. The Horror vignette could easily be mistaken by the average viewer flipping through channels as actual 1950s sci-fi (the cinematography and tone of the black and white is that good). Haynes, in my mind, maintains himself foremost as a stylist upon his tellings through film.
"It's easy to enjoy Raffaello Matarazzo's melodramas for the campy excess of their acting and story lines," blogs Dave Kehr, "but it's more
"Arguably the strongest American debut feature of the 90s, Todd Haynes's Poison — aptly billed as telling 'three tales of transgression
Based on the works of Jean Genet, Poison, the first theatrical film of Todd Haynes, is a grotesque, pessimistic, and extremely disturbing picture that is both celebration of misery and cruelty and… read review