In his much-anticipated encore to his superb first feature, Hunger, British artist Steve McQueen reunites with the extraordinary Michael Fassbender in the ferociously sexual drama Shame. An explosive portrait of a sex addict walking a tightrope between presentable respectability and the wild side, this incendiary drama captures the anger and the ecstasy of its anti-hero’s incessant drive for conquest in contemporary New York, where any woman he meets he believes is ripe for the taking. Madly attractive but with cruelly cold eyes, this compulsive Casanova finds his style cramped by the abrupt arrival of his unstable sister, whose insecurities crack open issues of his own. Daring, stylistically brilliant and erotically charged, McQueen’s heady, beautiful and disturbing film seems as determined to leave the viewer unsettled as it will surely serve to further propel Fassbender into the front ranks of contemporary screen actors. —NYFF
Born in London, McQueen grew up in West London and went to Drayton Manor High School. He was a keen footballer, turning out for the St. Georges Colts football team. He did an art A level at Hammersmith and West London College, then studied art and design at Chelsea College of Art and Design and then fine art at Goldsmiths College where he first became interested in film. He left Goldsmiths in 1993 and then studied briefly at the Tisch School in New York City. He found the approach there not experimental enough for him, however, complaining that “they wouldn’t let you throw the camera up in the air”.
McQueen’s films, which are typically projected onto one or more walls of an enclosed space in an art gallery, are often in black and white and minimalist. He has cited the influence of the nouvelle vague and the films of Andy Warhol. He often appears in the films himself.
His first major work was Bear (1993), in which two naked men (one of them McQueen) exchange a… read more
A sobering delicate and intense take on a subject few would be able to handle with such taste. The balance of beauty and horror, a fine soundtrack that brings forth commentary with a finely commendable sublimity. Not as visually experimental as Hunger but as elegantly crafted. Not a masterpiece, but a fine work nonetheless.
While Shame is a competent, stylish and well-acted movie, I never found myself caring about anything that happened to anyone on screen. I'm sure this may have been the point but despite being an fleetingly interesting character study I felt like I was just following the intendedly shocking adventures of Michael Fassbender, his ample bush and floppy dong. I thought I was watching a modern-day Caligula after a while.
The Artist leads. Conspicuous in their total absence: Melancholia and The Tree of Life.
Featuring an interview with Ai Weiwei and more. Also: The Gold Rush and Last Year at Marienbad in New York.
Steve McQueen’s vague new movie wears its emptiness like a badge of honor.
After all those raves from Venice, Telluride and Toronto, a couple of severe take-downs.
An exclusive look at the brand new poster for Kaurismäki’s Le Havre, as well as some other updates from the New York Film Festival.
A look at the posters for the films in the main slate of this year’s New York Film Festival.
Silver Lion for Cai Shangjun (People Mountain People Sea). Acting awards for Michael Fassbender and Deanie Ip.
Solid first reviews for McQueen’s followup to Hunger.
It is clear what the underlying, unspoken, but constantly present theme of Shame is – incest. The shame of incest is what drives all the traumas, addictions and dysfunctions of the… read review
With Hunger, Brit director Steve Mcqueen had the strong foundations of a real life event to draw upon. His reconstruction of Bobby Sands’ hunger strike in a Northern Irish prison cell was startlingly… read review
Who doesn’t have some type of sexual tendency and / or infatuation that they don’t feel entirely comfortable with? Perhaps the habits aren’t as extreme as the condition depicted in this film, but much… read review