Shame (2011)

Shame image 3 Sissy

★★★★★

Steve McQueen’s distressing Shame is an utterly convincing portrayal of sexual addiction and the devastation that goes with it. Few other films come close in dealing with sex as a means of gaining control to cover up the annihilation of intimacy and the impossibility of loving relationships.

United Kingdom / Directed by Steve McQueen / Written by Steve McQueen & Abi Morgan / Cinematography by Sean Bobbitt /Edited by Joe Walker / Art direction by Charles Kusziski / Music by Harry Escott / Produced by Iain Canning & Emile Sherman / Starring Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale, Nicole Behari. Read More

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Under the Skin (2013)

Under the Skin image 2

★★★★★
Jonathan Glazer’s long-awaited third film Under the Skin has mesmerised cineastes and critics, many of whom, though undeniably impressed, have reached for the waffle button to pad out reviews about this ‘haunting’ and ‘disturbing’ film which impresses us through its ‘poetry’ and its ‘aesthetics’. Digging deeper to examine just why it is that the film moves us so is, perhaps, the exception rather than the rule. It seems that Glazer is continuing his exploration of alienation, so devastatingly portrayed in Birth (2004), his film about melancholia. Whilst the protagonist in Under the Skin is an alien, the film is a metaphor for the inability to achieve intimacy and the annihilation which follows when earnest but misguided attempts to achieve it are made. Like Steve McQueen’s Shame (2011) and Francois Ozon’s Jeune et Jolie (2013), effort is needed to get beneath the skin of films dealing with devastating psychic injuries of a less obvious kind, particularly the agonizing elusiveness of intimacy.

UK/USA/Switzerland. Directed by Jonathan Glazer / Written by Jonathan Glazer & Walter Campbell, based on the novel by Michael Faber / Edited by Paul Watts / Cinematography by Daniel Landin / Production design by Chris Oddy / Art direction by Emer O’ Sullivan. Starring Scarlett Johansson. Read More

Birth (2004)

birth-2004

★★★★★

Birth is less of a complex thriller than it seems, and certainly not about the paranormal. It looks squarely at how grief and mourning may solidify into melancholy, and how relief may come in an unexpected and startling form and give hope for the future.

USA. Directed by Jonathan Glazer / Written by Jean-Claude Carriere, Milo Addica & Jonathan Glazer / Cinematography by Harris Savides / Edited by Sam Sneade & Claus Witisch / Music by Alexandre Desplat / Production design by Kevin Thompson / Art direction by Jonathan Arkin. Starring Nicole Kidman, Cameron Bright, Danny Houston, Lauren Bacall, Anne Heche, Peter Stomare, Alison Elliott, Arliss Howard. Read More