Brandon is a 30-something man living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life. After his wayward younger sister moves into his apartment, Brandon’s world spirals out of control. From director Steve McQueen (HUNGER), SHAME is a compelling and timely examination of the nature of need, how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us.

Director's Statement

My first film, HUNGER, was about a man with no freedom who uses his body to make a political statement and through that act creates his own freedom. I see SHAME as the opposite partner piece, as it is a film about a person who has all the western freedoms there are, a man who is neutral both politically and historically and who uses these freedoms, and his body, to create his own prison. In a way the whole concept of the body is central to SHAME, personified in the main character of Brandon, a young man living in New York. Through him the audience experiences the reality of sex addiction as he navigates daily life and personal relationships while slipping deeper into the clutches of a desire for self-gratification that morphs into a basic need. When his wayward and damaged sister Sissy comes back into his life, Brandon is forced to confront his own life and attempt to regain control over his spiraling addiction. Finally, and inevitably, this film is also an exploration of the taboos that surround sex and sexuality. When trying to discuss sex, especially in the context of addiction, there always remains an aura of titillation and the forbidden. Even as we witness − and become in some way numb to – the continued and continual sexualisation of society, the act itself takes place out of view, rarely examined. It is this ‘elephant in the room’ that I wish to expose.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Steve McQueen

Written by: Steve McQueen, Abi Morgan

Produced by: Emile Sherman, Iain Canning

Cinematography: Sean Bobbitt

Editing: Joe Walker

Production Design: Judy Becker

Original Score: Harry Escott

Cast: Carey Mulligan (Sissy), James Badge Dale (David), Nicole Beharie (Marianne), Michael Fassbender (Brandon)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Cinematographer – Prix Carlo Di Palma 2012
  • European Editor 2012
  • People's Choice Award 2012
  • European Film 2012
  • European Director 2012
  • European Actor 2012
  • Feature Film Selection 2012