“Cornered in his hotel room during the Toronto Film Festival, the ever-provocative Steve McQueen ruminates on free will, desire and his upcoming film Shame in Alison Chernick’s latest short. Recipient of the Camera d’Or and Fipresco prize for debut feature Hunger, McQueen has earned a reputation as one of our most prolific and challenging visual artists, winning The Turner Prize in 1999 for his short black and white film Deadpan, and representing Britain at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Co-written with Abi Morgan (Brick Lane), the director’s sophomore feature takes an unflinching look at the destructive nature of sex addiction, following Michael Fassbender’s corporate drone Brandon through a solitary routine of meaningless sexual encounters and the fallout that occurs when his equally damaged, self-harming sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) comes to stay. “I wanted to discuss the theme of imprisonment in his films—in this case psychological,” reveals Chernick. “But after seeing Shame I was more focused on the collide between morality and addiction, where one ends and the other begins.”
If sex is a “natural” part of life, why do some feel ashamed of the pleasure?