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I think this is a particularly interesting case. A shame that it may reduce the amount of theaters that will take it.
Not surprising, but this might be good for a “for the politics!” viewing, see if it beats out The Dreamers for box office or something.
Hopefully they’ll do a Blue Valentine and reverse their decision.
Yeah, all the reviews were pointing to this happening.
It just makes me want to see it even more!
Fox Searchlight is going to try and sell it to the Oscar committee. Fat chance. I’m actually very pleased that they are embracing the rating and hope this goes to further serve how stupid the MPAA is.
From what I’ve heard, there’s so much sex in the film that it would be virtually impossible to cut out scenes and/or shots to make it less graphic. Good for McQueen, sticking it to the man (or woman, in this particular case of puns).
I wasn’t certainly aware that the film was about sex but how frequency of it probably had the MPAA all shook up.
God forbid someone sees Fassbinder’s penis, it could damage heterosexual men like me.
That could be quite damaging.
Although the Mulligan nudity might be a good healer.
I’ve actually heard that sex occurs in forms other than the missionary position and everyone knows that any deviation from that could result in societal collapse.
Bravo, Fox Searchlight, bravo.
The film has received an “18” certificate in the United Kingdom? That is a marketable rating over there yes?
This rating dashes my hopes of seeing it anywhere until a home video release.
If a big studio had produced it the rating would had been different. Money talks.
If a big studio would have produced it… well, no. A big studio would NEVER produce a film like this. And I’m happy about that.
I’m seeing this in a couple weeks at AFI Fest.
Happy Birthday to meeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
I think an NC-17 probably helps a film like this more than it will hurt it.
A quick aside: Oscar-nominated actor Brad Pitt has joined the cast of Twelve Times A Slave. The film, based on a true story, follows a free black man in the 1850’s who was tricked and lured into slavery. Pitt will star alongside actors Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor in the Steve McQueen directed film.
What an amazing work. I saw it tonight and was blown away. Kudos to McQueen for taking so many risks with this film. From the approach to the visuals and the camera technique to the graphic sex, this is a film he really went out on a ledge with. And you have to give it to Searchlight for picking up this film and standing behind it.
This is one of my favorites of the year.
“THE” scene that likely gives the film its NC17 rating is so powerful and impacting to me (plus the performance he gives is so incredible) that I would be very angry if they cut it down to try to get an R. This is a film for adults. In this day and fu$%ing age, why should the NC17 be a death sentence? This is not a ‘normal’ film with sex scenes (in which the scenes are used to titillate the audience) This is not a film about sex. This is a film about sex addiction. There is a difference. I agree. An amazing work.
Ive watched this film in Montreal, uncut. What a joy! NC17 can be actually good. Valenti and his school of moral conduct has been castrating american movie goers for years, is it going to change? I don’t think so but if you see this gem, go for it, it’s totally worth it!
OK, I just saw this. Here are some thoughts and questions off the top of my head:
1. If I started a thread on this film, my subtitle was going to be, “a Secular Bad Lieutenant” On a superficial level, the film has the graphic nudity (Fassbender out does Keitel in full frontal shots) and sex scenes. Both are about men in anguish and guilt about their inner demons. Keitel’s character finds redemption via Christ (via the nun), while Fassbender’s Brandon doesn’t turn to religion—and my sense is the film leaves us wondering about his “redemption”. On the “for” side, Cissy’s attempted suicide could have been a Christ-like sacrifice that brings about Brandon’s redemption—although, if that’s the case, I feel like the film cheats a bit because it doesn’t really show how this change happens (as Cissy has attempted many other suicides)—but more importantly, I don’t think Fassbender really convinces me that this has changed him. I’m not entirely closed to a secular redemption story, but a part of me feels like the filmmakers tries hard to redeem the character in a secular way (as if he has something against religion). (I must admit that the more I think about Cissy’s attempted suicide—with the bleeding wrists, which echo Christ’s wounds—and the way this seems to “save” Brandon, the more I like it.)
2. The film begs for psychological reading and analysis of the character. For example, was Brandon ashamed of something other than his sexual appetite and preferences? Or was there something deeper? Is the film getting at something beyond a sex-addicted character? My sense is that the characters inability for intimacy—and having sexual relationships in an emotionally intimate relationship—is also crucial to the story.
3. Where does Cissy’s fit into Brandon’s difficulty with intimacy? Is she more representative of intimacy and something more wholesome that Brandon can’t reach?
4. Do people think the graphic, drawn out sex scenes were justified? What purpose did they serve? I think the sex scene with the receptionist made some sense because here we see a little a little more intimate sexual interaction—versus the more carnal scenes between Brandon and the prostitutes. And then we see that he can’t get aroused in this context. I also thought the graphic nature of the threesome scene might have been justified, especially when we see Brandon’s pained expression at the end. Sometimes these expressions can be more erotic, but, in the film, Fassbender’s looks as if he is in agony. (I’m more ambivalent about some of the other scenes—not necessarily because they were offensive, but just because they didn’t seem to support the film. They went on a little long and got boring, too.)
I had some other questions, but I can’t think of them right now.
“THE” scene that likely gives the film its NC17 rating is so powerful and impacting to me (plus the performance he gives is so incredible)
Which scene are you referring to? (My sense of what riles censors is not very good.)
This is a film about sex addiction.
That would lower my estimation of the film, if this is true. The film would be more compelling if it is about a man struggling, not just with sexual addiction, but his guilt and struggle with intimacy and something in the past (involving his family? Doesn’t Sissy say something like, "We’re not bad people. We just came from a bad situation, or something to that effect?).
I will have to get back to this
I’m not sure about the Bad Lieutenant comparison or the Christ stuff. It never occurred to me that Brandon or Cissy would be a Christ-like figure. I think you’re right, this is more than simply a character study about a sex addict. It’s really a film about a character’s inability to be intimate. This guy is really screwed up. He is desperately trying to be close to someone but he can’t. The one person he does find some connection to, he can’t have sex with her. I thought that scene with the woman from work was one of the more painful scenes in the film (much more so than the ending, where he’s so desperate he goes to the gay sex house) because he was at his most vulnerable – he was forced to confront these demons that he was having.
Obviously something happened to these two as children but what exactly that is isn’t important. What’s important is that these two are damaged and are trying to navigate their life as best they can. I don’t think Cissy is any more together than Brandon. I don’t think she represents anything other than another response to what happened to them in the past. He deals with things one way, she deals with them another way. For instance, everyone deals with things differently. You can have two victims of molestation go in polar opposite directions – one can become sex crazed as an adult whereas someone else could be unable to have sex. I think that’s what we have here with these two (I’m not saying they were molested as kids – we really have no idea what happened) where they both are dealing with life in a destructive way.
The graphic sex didn’t bother me nor did it stand out as unnecessary. For me, it supported the world that Brandon was consumed by, where everything was stripped down, inappropriate, appropriate, sexualized, unsexualized, etc. I think it added a nice tone to the palate of the film – like adding a specific color to the set design.
Jazz – Did you like the film? Did you feel for this character? Were you emotionally engaged with his story?
I think the graphic sex scenes were justified, but I also think if you take out the graphic sex scenes all you’re left with is a typical addiction film.
The scene that isn’t justified is the scene at the end where he’s falling down on his knees crying. I felt that scene was so cheesy it broke the immersiveness of the film.
I don’t see the Bad Lieutenant comparison. Shame is a far more naturalistic film, and it doesn’t address ethics and moral corruption in general, nor does it debate anything. It’s specifically about sex addiction and it’s destructive effect on one person’s life.
The most interesting thing in the film to me was the relationship with his coworker. He liked his co-worker, but he could only have a normal sexual relationship with her, and a normal sexual relationship would never satisfy him.
Here is a recent interview Fassbender did with Charlie Rose. Very good:
Fassbender on Charlie Rose
awesome interview, Santino!
Every interview I hear/see with Fassbender or McQueen makes me wish I liked the film more.
^You should like the film more!
Seeing the film is about sexual addiction it would seem fitting to have graphic SEX. If Americans were more sophisticated they wouldn’t be so uptight about a film like this. Filmgoers have been dumbed down so much over the past 40 years; in the late 60’s and early 70’s a film like this would have widely received and would have been considered brilliant. This film should have been rated R. There is nothing offensive in this film that a grown up mind couldn’t comprehend and understand.