Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

S & A's Audience Reaction To "Shame" Makes Steve McQueen Incredulous

by Sergio
November 17, 2011 11:25 AM
  • |

So here's the deal. On Tuesday I met filmmaker and artist Steve McQueen (twice actually at two different events), who, along with Michael Fassbender (a really approachable, genuinely nice, honest and down to earth guy) are currently on a U.S. and European publicity tour for Shame. McQueen himself is a pretty fascinating guy. VERY intense, talks 100MPH a minute, but who somehow instinctively knows what you're going to ask him, and says it even before you can ask him. Also with a really great sense of humor, so it's all not gloom and doom with him.

Of course I had to tell him that his film, Shame, perhaps more than any other film we've dealt with recently on S & A, has gotten more heated and angry comments than any other film - especially from people who haven't seen the film yet - on the site. (Well actually more angry comments from two certain people whom, I'm sure, because of their self-absored, self-centered, overbearing egos will no doubt have something to say about this)

McQueen was genuinely stunned when I told him this. He had, as I called it, a totally incredulous look on his face. He found it really hard to believe that anyone would be that angry about his film. But whenever someone deals with sex in a film, especially in the raw, intentionally emotionally cold manner that he does in Shame, it will raise the hackles of some people. (i.e. prudes, frigid or ain't getting any)

In fact, he at first thought that people were upset because it's a black director who's dealing with a subject like this, that would get some black people upset. I told him that perhaps it could be for some. There are those who like our black directors to be as safe and as tame and as non-threatening as possible. But there are those, however, especially myself, who love to see a black director going "outside the box."  But he said it was all "very interesting", in his understated British way, that people were reacting in such a way to his film; especially the ones who haven't seen it yet and who, no doubt, never will.

And let's be honest, Shame is not a film for everyone. It is a tough and brutal film, but one that I think is fascinating, intense and maybe brilliant at times. It's in the top three of the best films I've seen this year. All the raves you been reading about are totally justified.  But despite the sex in the film (which for those who have never watched a porn film, will be graphic; but for those who have, it's pretty tame), it's not about sex. It's about two psychologically and emotionally damaged people (Fassbender and Carey Mulligan who plays his grasping sister), who are unable and afraid to communicate honestly  with other human beings; People who are internally scarred and desperate for any kind of direct human contact. People deal with this in their own way through drugs, or alcohol, or food, or self destructive behavior. In Fassbender character's case, it's through sex. Which is why his big scene with Nicole Beharie has such an emotional weight. She's the first person he's met for whom he forms a real emotional bond. As a result it has a devestaing impact on him.

I urge you to check it out. It is a challenging film and there are those who hate, more like are afraid, to be challenged; but why not take the risk?  It's a risk-taking film, but there's nothing wrong with that at all. Sometimes you fall on your face and sometime you succeed, but it's always worth it.

  • |
Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    


  • sikccc | November 26, 2011 4:02 AMReply

    Don't want to see it.

  • starfishncoffee | November 17, 2011 7:55 PMReply

    The movie was amazing. I have to be honest. I avoided discussion here because I knew I'd see something that would get my blood pressure up and I'm getting too damn old. I don't want to spoil but I will say that I can see how a *surface* interpretation of Nicole Beharie's role can happen but only if you are expecting wholesale black "uplift" in your movies AND if you misinterpreted what was going on. Also, the movie wasn't about sex. Look people don't hauve to like the same things I do, but I'd appreciate them ratcheting up the level of thought when thNe film, as in this case, calls for it.

  • Neziah | November 17, 2011 4:19 PMReply

    Unlike some people, I don't judge a film by its subject matter and especially before seeing it. I will be seeing "Shame" opening day and supporting anything else McQueen cranks out, he is a force to be reckoned with and one of those rare black directors you rarely hear about these days. By the way, "Hunger" was incredible.

  • Neziah | November 17, 2011 4:32 PM

    Whoops, did I say black directors? I meant "directors", period.

  • CareyCarey | November 17, 2011 2:35 PMReply


    But Sergio,
    Iam somewhat surprised and stunned at your word usage. We have been here before and I believe we agreed that if a person gives a smile they will receive one. Also, when a person gives respect they will receive such in-kind. Until that happens, I have to tell you as I have told you before, I promised that I will not be the epicenter and focus of you continual deep throating of Steve McQueen and Shame. Although I know this is your party thus you can cry if you want to, however if you want to cram the movie shame down our throats leave me out of that mess. Lastly, who was really angry, not I nor the other commentor that you mentioned. So please, the next time you meet your new buddies tell the story right! I hope these are appropriate words for the old Negro from the South side of Chicago. I used those words because you have frequently championed your neighborhood as the badger of courage and a sign that you are all knowing which is obviously not true.

    Sincerely Carey from Iowa.

  • LandLocked | November 17, 2011 2:30 PMReply

    Our friend Sergio (from my side of town in Chicago, incidentally), is gonna mess around and drive ol' CareyCarey away -- then who are we gonna have to defend Tyler Perry's crappy, bullsh*t-ass films on these S & A boards?!

  • Neziah | November 17, 2011 4:16 PM


  • MiddleMyatt | November 17, 2011 2:26 PMReply

    Ms. Stone, I'm with you: "I love Shadow & Act! I love Steve McQueen!" -- and will most likely love "Shame!"

  • U of I Alum | November 17, 2011 2:22 PMReply

    Wow, Simone, I think what you said is T-shirt worthy:
    "There is not superheroes in real life!!!"

  • Carlton Jordan | November 17, 2011 1:26 PMReply

    Hahaha @ CareyCarey

  • CareyCarey | November 17, 2011 7:45 PM

    Stop it Carlton, dont give that old crusty goat Sergio something to smile about *LOL*.

  • anonymous | November 17, 2011 1:04 PMReply

    Shame is a great fucking movie. That is all.

  • simone | November 17, 2011 12:42 PMReply

    By the way,im in love of michael fassbender.

  • simone | November 17, 2011 12:37 PMReply

    keep your mind open!!!there is not superheroes in real life!!!

  • twokings | November 17, 2011 12:29 PMReply

    saw the film. though not a fan of the 'character study' type of (non)storytelling, was very impressed with mcqueen's command of the craft. the NC-17 rating is absurd. i imagine the rating was for the menage scene which was BRILLIANTLY executed by both fassie and mc.

    mc is most assuredly a lovely filmmaker.

  • Ms. Stone | November 17, 2011 12:09 PMReply

    I love Shadow & Act! I love Steve McQueen!

  • Faith | November 17, 2011 11:57 AMReply

    Saw "Shame" this past weekend and it is BRILLIANT. A masterful character study touching on a really tough subject. My fingers & toes are crossed that the Academy gets over its love for the status quo and nominate Fassbender for Best Actor. As it's been said already, it's not for everyone. Only mature people with open minds and hearts can appreciate this film. But it's definitely worth the price of admission. And I love the fact that Steve McQueen doesn't limit himself to making "Black" films, whatever that even means. He is a talent to be reckoned with.

  • Zeus | November 17, 2011 11:34 AMReply

    Well said. It's not a film for prudes or self absorbed, self righteous jack asses.

  • Sergio | November 17, 2011 1:37 PM

    Sorry I know I shouldn't respond, but I can't help myself. Yet again further proof folks that Carey never pays attention to what he reads. First of all it wasn't Tambay who posted this piece, but me. You know "Sergio from the South Side of Chicago" as you like to call me - as if that's some sort of insult. )I can't still figure out what you mean by that. Among other things you've said) The same guy, who despite the numerous photos of McQueen that we have posted on this site to let people know who he is, claimed that he an no idea that McQueen was black and was thinking of the actor who died back in 1980. (If we had posted a picture of Butterfly McQueen he would claim that he didn't know she was black)

    Let see what else he says:

    "I am no longer going to be the epicenter for you to move your promotion of SHAME"

    Never asked you to, never offered you the position so resigning your post really makes no sense

    "It is so odd that you spoke with Steve and his actor and mentioned all the heated debates, but yet, now you are biting the hands that feed you"

    I take it you're referring to yourself as "the hand" Well yeah I was biting it. Your feelings are hurt? Good. Will this mean that you'll go away for good? Alas, unfortunately, all of S & A readers know better.

    "You cant handle the truth."

    Well I guess you can't either since I did refer to someone with a "self-absored, self-centered, overbearing ego"

  • CareyCarey | November 17, 2011 12:27 PM

    Well said coming from the mouth of a palomino horse who could talk. Whats good Mister Ed? What... Wilbur does not let you out of the barn very much? Why dont you give us a few words on jock riders? Tambay, shame on you for the set-up. But as I have said in the past, I am no longer going to be the epicenter for you to move your promotion of SHAME. It is so odd that you spoke with Steve and his actor and mentioned all the heated debates, but yet, now you are biting the hands that feed you. Shame is right---> "self-absored, self-centered, overbearing egos who are prudes, frigid or ain't getting any" *STOP* So that is how we are going to do this? Be careful Tambay because I saw your film. Listen, you do not want to play the dozen with me, so dont do it. Be nice and peace-out. And Zeus, sit yo dumb-ass down b/c I have also seen your D- thang that you call a horror movie. Yes, it's horrible alright. Those actors appear to be auditioning for a high school play and the set looks like it was shot in public housing. And that music?! Damn, the horror of it all. How much money did you lose on that horrible horror thang? I am telling you Zeus, dont play with me. You cant handle the truth.

Follow Shadow and Act

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Samuel L. Jackson Is President of the ...
  • 'American Horror Story: Freak Show' ...
  • Iyanla Vanzant Takes Her Show to the ...
  • 18th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival ...
  • Trailer: 'Keep on Keepin’ On' (Captures ...
  • The AFI Directing Workshop for Women, ...
  • 'Project Catalyst' - the First Multicultural ...
  • Watch Fascinating New Trailer for Nadia ...
  • Sundance Appoints Shari Frilot & Kamal ...
  • Spike Lee to Receive Inaugural Pioneer ...