What a “Shame”, Mr. McQueen!
The British artist & filmmaker, already director for his “Hunger”, has gifted common people with his brand new masterpiece, “Shame”, in competition at the Venice Film Festival 2011, Toronto Film Festival 2011, NY FF2011 and London FF 2011.
Again with actor Michael Fassbender (who won the Coppa Volpi for Best Male Performance at the Venice Festival for this role and has been nominated for the Golden Globes 2012 and maybe for the Academy Awards 2012 too), this creative couple have presented a violent movie where emotional freedom is a prison to intimate problems and past unsolved questions.
Fassbender is Brandon, a man who abuses of sex (almost naked for the 70% of the film) from prostitutes to web-sex, and with a fascinating perversion that reveal all the sadness and loneliness of his intimacy.
Rich, handsome and charming he escapes from feelings and from her sister (Carey Mulligan)’ ones too.
With a dramatic ending, the Director centers the question: who’s so different, in contemporary life, from him?
We met McQueen and Fassbender at the 2011 Venice FF, to chat about the movie, from disgusting absolution, to sexuality, common life and dependence.
S.McQ.: I’m in Venice for the Film Festival and for the Biennale-Arte too, and I’m so honored for that! You know, I think that art must be considerate for its whole value, not in every piece it’s divided. Also “Shame” is part of my art ideas, I can’t think of barricades between arts.
M.F.: … and I’m so honored too! Some years ago I would have never thought about this privilege.
S.McQ.: It’s a movie where redemption seems to be not possible, ever. Brandon, the protagonist, it’s a great character, in my opinion: He’s someone who seems to have lost the focus of his life, and, to escape from reality, past and present, he drown into a hole of sex and perversion, where everything is physically possible, with no moral in a normal conception, but entrapped in his thoughts, silences and solitude.
M.F.: I love my role. He’s never bad, but so simple despite his difficult emotional part, that everyone in our contemporary world, may recognize with.
S.McQ.: And the title was chosen to empathize the meaning of the movie too: Brandon is full of all the freedoms that West World has today, ma who’s entrapped into his own body, like a machine. He’s not freedom, despite his success at work, money, and charm with women, and he’s annoyed by daily life, trying to seduce women to escape from that, and never being involved in any relationship.
M.F.: And he tends to escape from the ones he’s really attracted to, and this turns into his incapability even of having sex with them. I think that’s the opposite story from the first cinema-project I’ve done with Steve, “Hunger”: in that movie I was a man in prison but so full of energy and freedoms in his intimate side, and here not.
S.McQ.: It’s our second movie together, as you know, so now I’m not able to think about a forthcoming movie without Michael. It’s been like love-at-first-sight for the two of us!
M.F.: And it’s a privilege for me, you know Steve! I’ve been in Venice with Cronenberg’s movie too, but I can find some things in common between these two projects, because in both sides I’m two different peoples, from time living and identity, but similar in their intimate violence and need to think. Working has been the same for me, but, you know, it’s a little bit more simple when your character is someone there’s a lot written about. When you face with new people you need to invent the character itself! And I have to admit that acting naked and having sex near the camera has been very difficult for me, but you know, it’s part of my work!
S.McQ.: The story is set in NY city: it’s the city where everything seems to be possible, also sex, every time you need to, and perversion too. The city of lots of people and the symbol of loneliness too.
M.F. : Brandon is his own victim, depending on sex, and then on drugs, because these bad things are almost related one each other; he’s clever, handsome and charming, with past problems never told, and a strange relationship with his problematic sister, his opposite, I think. His own hell is in his own mind. And maybe he won’t never be able to escape from that…
by Ilaria Rebecchi