Shame reviews

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criddic3
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Re: Shame reviews

Postby criddic3 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:54 pm

ITALIANO wrote:
ksrymy wrote:So you didn't succeed in having sex with an animal?



I soon found the animal side of human beings more interesting.


One must laugh. Even a 15 year old in his horniest state would probably resort to self-pleasure rather than lower himself to "trying" to f*** the family dog. Of course, I will just chalk this up to an exaggeration of the state of mind of young males with raging hormones.
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Re: Shame reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:26 pm

ksrymy wrote:So you didn't succeed in having sex with an animal?



I soon found the animal side of human beings more interesting.

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Re: Shame reviews

Postby ksrymy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:19 pm

ITALIANO wrote:
criddic3 wrote:
ITALIANO wrote: in our early twenties and we tried to have sex with any kind of moving target, human, animal or mineral.


Are you saying you had sex with an animal? lol



I said "tried".


So you didn't succeed in having sex with an animal?
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Re: Shame reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:08 pm

criddic3 wrote:
ITALIANO wrote: in our early twenties and we tried to have sex with any kind of moving target, human, animal or mineral.


Are you saying you had sex with an animal? lol



I said "tried".

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Re: Shame reviews

Postby criddic3 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:50 pm

ITALIANO wrote: in our early twenties and we tried to have sex with any kind of moving target, human, animal or mineral.


Are you saying you had sex with an animal? lol

I actually just watched this film. It is certainly depressing, but I thought the acting was impressive. Some people like it when artsy or "indie" films leave things up to the viewer to piece together. In this particular case, it might have been better to give a little more background to what made the characters who they are. The implications of incest and the love-hate relationship between sister and brother are enough to suggest some of it, but not all abused people lead such destructive lives. So that makes the film a bit tougher to get into. If someone were to ask for my recommendation, I would have to say it is well-made and acted. However, I wouldn't put it on my "you have to rush out and see it" list. Still, Fassbender and Mulligan probably deserved to be nominated...yet I understand why they weren't.
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Re: Shame reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:27 am

No, there weren't serial killers in Henry and June, but then this movie (like The Unbearable Lightness of Being) was the work of an American director who tried desperately to be and look "European" and, of course, failed. Both movies owed alot to the European roots of the writers of the books they were based on; unfortunately, they also owed a lot, including the coldness of their sex scenes, but more generally a lack of soul, to their American director. No, I wouldn't consider these as examples of American erotica - good or bad; eroticism is something else. But it's possible that Shortbus, which I haven't seen, belongs to the genre and will make me change my mind. Yet, generally, really, if you want to look for movies which deal honestly and not moralistically with sex, and who are erotic, not just scientific documentaries, you must go to Europe and to Asia - American directors seem to be castrated by a form of censorship which comes from outside but also, I feel, from deep inside themselves. And sex is such a vital, important side of our life that there's often something missing in American movies from this point of view.

(As I'm a very democratic person, I actually DID have sex with Americans too - and I could write a book on it. But that's another story...)

As for Shame, I have to be more clear probably. The main character certainly has a problem - and the Americans, of course, have found an easy, fashionable name for this problem: "sexual addiction". It's true that it's something different than when we were, say, in our early twenties and we tried to have sex with any kind of moving target, human, animal or mineral - it's much less healthier if only because, obviously, he isn't in his early twenties anymore. And I also understand, and respect, that the movie doesn't want to explain more - it just shows his behavior, through a series of more and more "degrading" (and sometimes, let me say it, cliched) sexual encounters. Still, by doing so, it may lead viewers - the moralistic viewers especially - to believe that sex itself is THE problem, and not something deeper which leads to his admittedly manic search for sex. Actually, in such an empty, lonely life, sex might sometimes provide an illusion of joy, of companionship even, it might not be completely negative - but in the movie we never get to see that: he moves from woman to woman with the same expression on his face that Sean Penn wore in Dead Man Walking on his way to the lethal injection. And I think it's simplistic and a bit puritannical, too.

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Re: Shame reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:28 am

Sonic Youth wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:Shame

I haven't seen Shame, and I probably won't until it's available for streaming. But I'm curious about the "sex addiction". Is it about a man who has a sadness and emptiness inside him which he has to fulfill by having lots of sex, or is it compulsive disorder in the same way some people feel they must wash their hands forty times a day.


The latter.

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Re: Shame reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:15 am

Big Magilla wrote:Shame is not about sex per se, it's abot sexual addiciton and probably should be compared more to sometnhing like The Man with the Golden Arm rather than movies about "sex in America". As for frontal nudity in mainstream films, Americans don't need to go to the movies to find it, all they have to do is stay home and watch cable TV.


Sure we can, and never mind TV. We can download most anything online. But isn't that just begging the question?

Whether a film is primarily about sex or not is also dodges the issue. The issue is about the depiction of sex in movies. Whether the movie in question is about sex isn't relevant.

I haven't seen Shame, and I probably won't until it's available for streaming. But I'm curious about the "sex addiction". Is it about a man who has a sadness and emptiness inside him which he has to fulfill by having lots of sex, or is it compulsive disorder in the same way some people feel they must wash their hands forty times a day.
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Re: Shame reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:46 am

Shame is not about sex per se, it's abot sexual addiciton and probably should be compared more to sometnhing like The Man with the Golden Arm rather than movies about "sex in America". As for frontal nudity in mainstream films, Americans don't need to go to the movies to find it, all they have to do is stay home and watch cable TV.

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Re: Shame reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:25 am

ITALIANO wrote:But I mean - there's nothing in American and British movies that suggests that sex, the exploration of sex, can be sunny, enjoyable, guiltless, free, even important for other aspects of one's personality - there's always a serial killer waiting in the dark with an axe, or something terrible like that, always a punishment, and I find this very interesting but not very positive.


Now there's a challenge! Are there any exceptions to this statement?

Hmmm... would Henry and June serve as an exception? Or does it not count, because the source material was written in Europe? (It's been more than fifteen years since I've seen it. If there were a serial killer in it, I've forgotten.)

And have you ever seen Shortbus? I didn't love it, but it's not only (as you would say) a very American movie, but a very New York movie in which the it's repression that serves as a stumbling block to growth and development whereas sheer unrestrained sexuality is the key to every character's happiness and fulfillment. It makes an argument for committed monogamy depending on the particular character and relationship he/she's in, but it's not by any means the overall message as it also endorseses one-night-stands and multiple partners, not only for personal development but also as an act of defiance to the stifling mainstreaming of America. And, in its depiction of both straight and gay sex, it's as explicit (if less frequent) as pornography. Look at the poster on its imdb page and you'll get an idea of the sort of film it wants to be.
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Re: Shame reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:29 am

Reza wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:Shame is the best erotic movie ever made by a British director - for the simple reason that it's the first erotic movie ever made by a British director. And, unsurprisingly, it sees sex as suffering. (Americans still have to make an erotic movie).


Surely Ken Russell cornered the market on eroticism decades ago, including shots of the male anatomy?



Oh ok, Ken Russell... Well, I wouldn't consider his private nightmares especially erotic, but I guess that by British standards some of his movies can be considered kind of erotic. Maybe.

But I mean - there's nothing in American and British movies that suggests that sex, the exploration of sex, can be sunny, enjoyable, guiltless, free, even important for other aspects of one's personality - there's always a serial killer waiting in the dark with an axe, or something terrible like that, always a punishment, and I find this very interesting but not very positive.

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Re: Shame reviews

Postby Reza » Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:34 am

ITALIANO wrote:Shame is the best erotic movie ever made by a British director - for the simple reason that it's the first erotic movie ever made by a British director. And, unsurprisingly, it sees sex as suffering. (Americans still have to make an erotic movie).


Surely Ken Russell cornered the market on eroticism decades ago, including shots of the male anatomy?

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Re: Shame reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:25 pm

Shame is the best erotic movie ever made by a British director - for the simple reason that it's the first erotic movie ever made by a British director. And, unsurprisingly, it sees sex as suffering. (Americans still have to make an erotic movie).

The director is very good both with his camera and with his actor; there are some extremely good scenes - for example one at a restaurant, filmed in one take, very subtle and well-done. The sets, the clothes, are so believable and lived-in that it's clear there's lots of talent behind the camera (the young man's flat looks especially real). The sense of loneliness which pervades the characters' lives is palpable, profound. This is a movie that has to be seen and that definitely deserves more than just the one nomination it will get.

Is it a masterpiece? No. The Americans who seemed so shocked by the sex scene and the frontal nudity - male and female - have probably stopped watching European movies after, say, 1962. But one can't deny that sex is present in the movie, and in good doses. Still, I have problems with the - sometimes moralistic - way the movie deals with Fassbender's sexual actions. Ok, he's a "sexual addict". I know that in America you have whole private, and I guess expensive, hospitals for this kind of illness, and I don't want to take it too lightly, but...
But let's face it, we have all gone through that phase. Maybe we were a bit younger than Fassbender's character, true, but Fassbender isn't old either (and he's handsome and in-shape - wouldn't have it been more interesting if the sexual slave had been a normal man, middle-aged for example, or simply one with a less than perfect body?).
And, again, we have all been there. We may not be that proud, especially when we see it in retrospective, but while it lasted... it was fun. Lots of fun.
There's no fun in the movie. The character's descent to hell - through acts which get more and more "promiscuous", by puritannical standards (homosexuality is just a step behind inter-racial orgy) - is one of torment and desperation - not a single moment of joy or, since it's sex we are talking about, pleasure. Even just incidental - nothing. Sex is never playful - it's just tragic. We see Michael Fassbender's face becoming more and more shrunken, emaciated - and when you think that well, at least there's no violence, no "punishment", you get both violence and blood - much blood. It's a dark, obsessed movie, full of ominous, sad - though good - music.

It's also undeniably well-directed and well-acted.

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Re: Shame reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:38 am

Come on, Tee, we all know there's a double standard between male and female nudity. And there's a double standard between violence and sex, but I think that's largely because the religious right is so against sex that they protest at the drop of a hat.
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Re: Shame reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:30 pm

This is clearly the work of talented film artists -- McQueen and Fassbender at least, and I may be inclined to throw in Mulligan after this. But I'm not sure it's a fully realized work of art.

Based on the two films I've seen, McQueen is capable of mounting extraordinary set pieces -- the Sands confab with the priest in Hunger; the dePalma-like subway hunt, New York New York, and the jog across 31st Street here. But for me he hasn't yet completely figured how to make those wonderful pieces feel like they cohere into a single piece of art -- the parts seem greater than the whole. This is especially so because (this seems like something we're saying alot this year, about the better films) the narrative is rather thin, and, if you probe too deeply into it, maybe even a bit trite: withdrawn guy/extrovert sister, two sides of the same damaged-by-parents coin, provoke crises in one another's lives. This rather snarky sum-up isn't what occurred to me while I was watching -- I was fully taken by the film scene-by-scene, and loved such little touches as the comically intrusive waiter. But when I was rerunning it afterward -- as I do with all films that reach me -- I found it was feeling like less rather than more. The movie didn't seem to go anywhere particularly important or insightful. (And, ona mundane level, I couldn't help coming up with picky questions, like, What the hell was there for him to do at work while his computer was out of commission?)

But, dwelling on the much positive: McQueen is, as I said, an artist. He's willing to stay away from studio-standard in framing, structure, story clarity, even pacing (no Hollywood film would have let Mulligan's song go on uncut like that). I'm not sure that some degree of accommodation to normal practice wouldn't improve his work overall, but he gains so much from his approach that one is loath to suggest tinkering. He's clearly not afraid to be quiet -- there are long stretches in the film that are purely visual -- but then there are dialogue scenes (like Fassbender's date with Marianne, or his late-film tongue-thrashing of Cissy) that could hardly have been handled better.

McQueen seems to use Fassbender not so much as his leading actor as his muse (like Durkin did Olsen in Martha Marcy). Those two scenes I just mentioned, in fact, are among the few times Fassbender is truly allowed to carry the film in actorly, Oscar-clip fashion. He gives a very strong performance throughout, but, except in those anomalous scenes, what he conveys is conveyed passively, with McQueen letting his camera linger, trusting Fassbender to make points silently. Carey Mulligan's performance is much the opposite: she comes on like a house afire from the start, and takes over every scene in which she participates. I liked Mulligan in An Education -- not as much as those of you who voted her best actress that year; more than the nay-saying squad. But after Wall Street 2 and Drive, I was beginning to wonder if she had anything else to offer. Wonder no more. She's a powerhouse here. But, a weird thought: because Fassbender's work is often recessive compared to Mulligan's, it's not impossible she could be nominated in support while he's omitted in lead, despite the fact it's his performance that carries the film.

About the sex: I agree with BJ, there's obviously plenty enough on-screen to justify the NC-17 rating. But haven't people been a bit over the top on the issue of how naked Fassbender gets? From the publicity, I went in thinking his dick would be so in my face I'd be swatting it away like the lions in Bwana Devil. In reality, unless I dozed off and missed something, his actual member only makes rather brief, mostly shadowy appearances. By contrast, I got a good long look at Carey Mulligan (and a few other women displaying, shall we say, various levels of grooming), and no one's said boo about that. Are our older male critics so uptight about this male issue that the mildest display is viewed as threateningly flagrant?


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