Although the critically acclaimed Shame did not win the main ‘Golden Lion’ prize at this year’s Venice Film Festival, it’s star Michael Fassbender has taken the prize for best actor. The best award at the festival went to German film Faust, an adaptation of the classic Goethe fable by revered Russian director Alexander Sokurov.
At the glamorous event, which is the oldest film festival in the world, Fassbender paid tribute to ‘his hero,’ Shame director Steve McQueen, and added that “It’s nice to take a chance on work you think is relevant and hope other people find it relevant.” It is the second time that McQueen and Fassbender have worked together – they paired up on 2008 British drama Hunger, which documented the notorious Maze prison protests, in which Fassbender played emaciated IRA member Bobby Sands. The film was widely praised by critics, in particular a seventeen-minute unbroken shot of Fassbender and Liam Cunningham discussing the planned hunger strike.
Shame is the story of Brandon, a sex-addict unable to control his urges as he careers from one unhappy encounter to another. He also has to contend with a painful past, memories of which are brought back to him when his younger sister, played by Carey Mulligan, moves in. Like Hunger, Shame looks set to be a dark, unsettling, but ultimately human and beautifully shot film.
In a press conference in Venice, McQueen was happy to draw a comparison between the two, describing them both as films about a man wrestling with his own personal relationship with freedom. The director has also refused to make cuts to his work, leaving graphic scenes of full-frontal nudity, sex and urination intact, which will no doubt give it the same hard hitting edge which made Hunger one of the best films of 2008.
Shame will be released in Britain on January 13th next year.