saw Steve Mc Quuen’s Shame today _
excellent film, nowhere near as explicit as i’d imagined .. i worried that the film would veer towards gratuitous use of sex but hoped that Stevey would stay true to his ‘Hunger‘ (SEE THIS FILM) form.. which he did, rising above lustful physicality and instead sifting through the emotional filth that contributes to / serenades an individual’s journey through addiction.
yeah there were sex scenes, but they were always essential to the narrative and never drawn out longer than necessary_ the scenes were more implicit than explicit- what McQueen did exquisitely well was to convey the emotional vapidity of the (majority of) Brandon’s encounters, eye contact was rare, sex was quick, functional and ultimately unfulfilling .. this was brilliantly counterbalanced with the introduction of the depressive younger sister into the protagonist’s life, Brandon’s hostility towards emotional commitment (in all contexts) regularly becoming a sparring point between the two..
the score was incredible, particularly during the opening scene (beautifully mirrored in a penultimate scene) and the cinematography/colouring a treat .. acting was consistently immersive and credible.. great film.
what i really loved in the film though was McQueen’s subtle attention to seemingly insignificant yet hugely insightful details –
- the just-in-view bottom left corner of the poster on the train next to one of his early flirts reading “how is this all possible?” _ a question subconsciously resounding in the viewer’s (well, mine at least) mind throughout the film (“how does it get to this stage” .. “how?”)
- the music playing in Brandon’s house when he returns to find his estranged sister in his flat- an instrumental section of Chic’s I Want Your Love , this song not only sets up but defines their entire interaction throughout the film. (brandon and friend also walking into upmarket jazz bar- admiring a waitress’s behind while the band performs an instrumental of “my favourite things”)
- the momentarily nostalgic scene where Brandon and his sister sit down side by side, back to camera, watching kids cartoons (blurred out in the background) towards the latter part of the film- him wearing a faded blue t shirt, her in a worn pink top- blue for boy pink for girl style, almost a physical representation of the desaturated state of their former selves they both currently are- ultimately a picture of innocence obscured by shame.