Steve McQueen Shame Hunger And Addiction

Big Year For Turner Prize Winner As Golden Globes And Oscars Approach, Not to mention his CBE

In the last decade Steve McQueen has achieved more than most other Turner Prize winners. His work has been shown extensively in museums around the world, major institutions have acquired his art, including the Guggenheim, MOCA, Tate and the Centre Pompidou. He won the Turner Prize in 1999 for his film installation work and exhibition at the Institute of Comtemporary Arts [ICA], London. and in the last three years has released two major mainstream films. Hunger in 2008 and Shame in 2012. McQueen is essentially a fine artist who works with film and photography. He was awarded the OBE, and was appointed a CBE in the 2012 Queen’s New Year Honours List.

McQueen attended the Chelsea School of Art, London, 1989-90; Goldsmith’s College, London, 1990-93 & Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, New York, 1993-94. He was selected as the Official War Artist for Iraq in association with the Imperial War Museum in 2003 and participated in Documenta as well as securing several major solo exhibitions, including the Fondazione Prada and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. He was commissioned by Robert Storr to create two new films, Gravesend and Unexploded, for the Italian Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007 and represented Britain at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009.

His first commercial feature film, Hunger was about the last six weeks of the life of the Irish republican hunger striker Bobby Sands. It was released in late 2008 and he won the 2008 Camera D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Sydney Film Prize, at the Sydney Film Festival. It was also Oscar nominated.

His latest film Shame which covers the hot topics of sexual addiction and family disfuncional behavour was released in the UK last week. It is a fine film, not without its flaws, most evident in an extremely long, out of tune rendition, of New York  New York, sung by Carey Mulligan and an overly self-indulgent sex scene, showing soft focus close-ups of peoples backs, where less would have been far more. I think good direction is often knowing when to cut out dead wood and this film still has plenty left to prune. Much is compensated by a fantastic one shot jogging scene and fine acting by all of the main characters, especially Michael Fassbender who should win the GG just for his Boogie Nightsprosthetic.

McQueen stated in an interview; “I made “Shame” in America, but it’s not a Hollywood movie. I’m about challenging people. Like, properly challenging them and their assumptions. Audiences make their minds up about people they see on screen, just like they do in real life. That’s what fascinates me in film. You see a character and have to think: is this person different to what I assumed he was when I first saw him? … I’m certainly not who  people think I am. I always do whatever I want to do and my films are personal to me. “Hunger” was about my youth, the loss of innocence when I realised what my country was doing, what was going on. Brandon in “Shame” is my response to being lost – I’ve not been there in the sense of sexual addiction, but I’ve been lost”.