Chris Sullivan reviews 2011 London Film Festival offering Shame - the latest movie from Turner Prize winning director Steve McQueen starring Michael Fassbender as sex addict Brandon.
And so it was off to the London Film Festival gala for Shame directed by award-winning video artist Steve McQueen whose movie, Hunger, the story of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, really kicked some serious ass at the festival a few years ago and nicked the Golden Camera prize at Cannes.
Shame, the director’s second feature, looks at another controversial subject – sex addiction – that is often overlooked by contemporary society but can be as all-consuming as any drug. Just consider how much time is spent on porn channels or how much effort goes into having sex with as many girls as possible.
Star of the fest Michael Fassbender again joins forces with McQueen and takes on the role of Irish man Brandon – a cog in a big corporate machine – who, long ensconced in New York, has slipped into the nether world of rampant sexual activity where nothing shocks, rewards or enlightens.
The handsome Brandon pulls like crazy but still finds time to shake hands with the unemployed at every opportunity and owns a porno stash that could give a 17-year-old a run for his money. Yet, all in all, your man seems at ease and happy with his lot even though the viewer, via a brilliant non-spoken eight-minute scene where first he masturbates in the shower then eyes up a random girl on the subway and then knocks one off in his work's lavatory, is massively ill at ease.
The shit hits the fan when his long-unseen little sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) turns up unannounced at his apartment. A needy pain in the arse, she seems convinced that her job in life is to invade his space and get on our nerves. I’ll say no more other than Fassbender is simply astonishing; Mulligan hits the nail on the head while every aspect of the movie form the cello-based soundtrack by Harry Escott and the essential cinematography by Sean Bobbit is quality.
All of the above, with the exception of Mulligan who is filming The Great Gatsby, hit the red carpet, which was a rather unremarkable affair... Afterwards I peeled off to east London to the private view of Lee Childers' photo exhibition at The Outside World Gallery entitled Drag Queens, Rent Boys, Pickpockets, Junkies, Rockstars and Punks.
A friend of Warhol and trusted Factory photographer he also managed Bowie, Iggy and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers for two years, including their stint on the Sex Pistol’s Anarchy Tour. His excellent shots cover the lot. The event was like a who’s who of original UK punk rock, with Adam Ant, Glen Matlock of the Pistols, John McKay of The Banshees, Gaye Advert of the Adverts and Spizz Energi alongside Bobby Gillespie's tailor Mark Powell and Pam Hogg. A most groovy occasion oiled by lashings of Absinthe cocktails, I then DJ’d the afterparty at the nearby pub, The George and Dragon.
Drag Queens, Rent Boys, Pickpockets, junkies, Rockstars and Punks is at the Outside World gallery in London until Thursday, October 21 when it moves to the Society Club in Soho until October 28.