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Radmila Djurica

Radmila Djurica is your guide to the festival scenes: Sarajevo, Cannes and many more

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Size Matters

Human nature is one of those things that everybody talks about but no one can define. Human behavior is a product both of our innate human nature and of our individual experience and surrounding environment or culture.  Our preference for certain type or a size is an evolved psychological mechanism, it is something that we do not consciously choose; but it may feel as such a good subject to talk about. Do you know the situation at crowded movie in theatre, at the beginning of screening, when the first you see at the film is something you least expect? Well, there it was! Film Shame by Steve McQueen that has opened the Author film festival 2011 in Belgrade was a surprise. Just when the film began, the first thing you notice about it is a gorgeous man with very large penis and the next things are witty comments of the audience. In addition, this situation speaks as a testament to sexual prowess for the pure raw visceral longing that it generates. Moreover, if this random and spontaneous visual effect of masculinity is what excites, then I should say that all comments firstly made in the theatre audience were by female voices:

Au my God! (woman in front) 

But he is massive, isn’t he? (woman aside) Is he??? (woman in front of me)

Au yes he is…(woman in the back)   

Then you hear people laugh, which is the most appreciative reaction possible for serious art film drama screening. This is something you cannot avoid. No one expect to see such reactions for the art film. Film Shame by Steve McQueen is drama, not the regular entertainment film or soft porn film; it is a serious human drama about the alienation in the contemporary western countries society today. In addition, Fassbender, the main role of film, was not chosen to take this role because of his size. McQueen's second film after Hunger dealt with Bobby Sands and the IRA hunger strikes, was enthusiastically accepted after its first screening in Venice and was one of three UK movies in competition for Venice festival's top prize, the Golden Lion.

Fassbender in the film Shame features Brandon, young man, a womanizer with serious addiction on sex and pornography. The saddest paradox of any addiction is that transforms a source of pleasure into insatiable need. It is as any addiction, treated by professionals with drugs.  Almost every third film in the world explores the subject finding no logic of this condition, with respect to drugs or alcohol abuse. The new feature from the British visual artists and film director Steve McQueen has a lot in common with many other films made today to feature sex, alcohol or needle. Good looking man from the outside, and wreck that he is from inside. And yes, he is hooked on sex, he is empty and wreck inside, and cruel:  The film is very visual: it shows Brandon's apartment and the view from his apartment and this interior of his house or exterior view is his inside. Yes, did I mention that Steve McQueen is a visual artist, and that this is his work of visual art? Brandon’s environment where he lives is his soul, but buttered with shiny exteriors and ability to have sex with almost any woman, the woman that he chooses, of course.  

However, the addiction to sex in any of forms does not involve love or intimacy. Brandon is an introvert, of course Sissy his sister is an extrovert. These two people come from the same background and what has happened in their past has heavily affected them on different way, but regarding title of the film, it may be incest. Brandon due to his life has become a sex addict and Sissy got harsh end of the stick and ended up as a potential suicide case. I thought that film was incredibly beautiful. Fantastically shot and moving with clear characters and situations, simple and effective. They are both human and this is good about this film. Brandon is a man yes, but there is an extraordinary femininity in his character, after all, this is one of the hidden reasons why the women should love this film and I think that is the appeal. Nowadays macho types never show their heart or vulnerability and this is often mistaken for masculinity.

Both actors in this film are very expressive Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan.    

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