by Laurent de Alberti
Back in 2008, director Steve McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender were virtual unknowns when their first collaboration, Hunger, took the independent film world by storm, nabbing a Camera d’Or for best first film in Cannes, and giving them worldwide recognition. So it is an understatement to say that their second collaboration was much anticipated. And yet it turns out to be a surprise disappointment.
In Shame, Michael Fassbender plays Brandon, a successful executive in New York City, whose life is dominated by his pursuit for sex: internet porn, prostitutes, casual hook-ups, he is in thrall of a never ending sexual addiction, while being unable or unwilling to commit to any relationship. The arrival of his needy and unstable sister Cissy (Carey Mulligan) disturbs his carefully managed lifestyle.
Continue reading Shame
by Ron Swanson
Just before Christmas, the issue of film release scheduling was brought up as part of the ugly contretemps between New Yorker film reviewer David Denby and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo producer Scott Rudin. While Denby’s claim that he had to break an embargo he’d agreed to because of release schedule madness (in this case, keeping all of the films aimed at a literate, adult audience to be released at the same time) was clutching for a proverbial drinking device, there’s a kernel of truth to the fact that most of the interesting releases aimed at an older audience do tend to be squeezed into a three month (at best) period.
Continue reading Preview of 2012 – Awards and Art House
I Wish (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2011)
I Wish is an absolute delight. It tells the story of two young brothers whose parents have split up; the mother took the elder brother to live with her parents, leaving the father and younger brother behind. The split was acrimonious, and so the boys must communicate by phone, in secret. The mother’s family live in a town across the water from an active volcano; its looming presence fills the sky and ash falls more or less all the time, coating the town in a dull film that has to be constantly cleaned up. It’s a state of depressed limbo that reflects the lives of the family; things are unresolved. The film centres around the elder boy’s desire to bring the family back together; he decides that if the volcano exploded it would resolve things once and for all by forcing an evacuation of his town, and his parents to reunite. He ends up leading an expedition of children, each bringing a desire of their own, on a quest to reach a magic place where two Shinkansen trains will pass each other for the first time, which the kids believe will create enough energy to make wishes come true.
Continue reading London Film Festival 2011 – Days 3-5