Director Steve McQueen says he is optimistic that the NC-17 rating meted out to his latest film, Shame , due to open on Friday, will not become a "death penalty." Interviewed on the website BlackFilm.com, McQueen observed that "we are living in a time where two clicks on your Iphone, you're seeing the most explicit images you can possibly think of." Indeed, he pointed out, "The majority of use on the Internet is for pornography." [Most studies indicate that about 20 percent of Internet users visit porn sites.] By comparison with Internet porn, he said, "what we are doing here is pretty tame." In a separate interview with Reuters, Michael Fassbender, the star of Shame , who appears in several full-frontal scenes, was asked whether he ever worried that they might come off as "art house porn." He replied, "No, not at all, as I knew the sex wasn't there for titillation or exploitation. It was there as a way for the audience to access this guy's head." In an early review of the movie, Roger Ebert concludes, "This is a great act of filmmaking and acting," then adds, "I don't believe I would be able to see it twice."

01/12/2011