Shame

7 February, 2012

I saw the new Steve McQueen film Shame the other day. It is a very good film, especially the cinematography which is extraordinary. The name for it is very fitting as the whole thematic aspect of the film deals with shame in all its shapes and sizes. What society connects with shame or what shame should be a result of. Shame in how the main character is a sex addict and cannot connect emotionally to any of the women (and men) he sleeps with. Shame in how his sister has the problem with depression and suicide attempts. Shame in how we hide and tuck away bits of ourselves.

Shame is the story of Brendan whom is addicted to sex and feeds his addiction with casual one night stands, prostitutes, internet porn and masturbation. On the outside it seems like he leads a respectable life as he is working at some empty Manhattan office and have the most clean dull ultramodern apartment imaginable. His life is disturbed when his sister moves in as she can’t seem to find anywhere else to live. She knows him in a way that nobody else knows him. She can see how disturbed he is and that he needs help. He cannot see her in the same way though.

Is it just me or is the feeling Shame quite relevant for this modern age? Shouldn’t we feel Shame with what has happened to our economy? Or rather, was it a lack of Shame which produced this? Lack of shame, gilt and responsibility. Shame is of course not the only feeling available for the modern human. It is however a quite interesting model of explanation, a good pair of specs. Shame is what bind Brendan and his sister together in a way as they both as something to be shameful for, or something society would label as shameful. His sex addiction and her self destructive way of cutting herself.

It is a shame that neither Michael Fassbinder och Carey Mulligan was nominated for their acting in the film. They both deliver powerful performances.

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