Home > Film, Musings, Photo > The Late Show with the National Portrait Gallery

The Late Show with the National Portrait Gallery

Last Thursday night I went to see the Taylor Wessing Prize at the NPG – been meaning to go for ages, but never got around to it. Also, my friend Matan has asked me to take a nice portrait of him and his girlfriend, and as I’ve never really done I shoot like that, I thought I’d go looking for some inspiration.

I also saw Shame this Wednesday, which I mostly really liked, (even if the Q+A with Steve McQueen made me like it slightly less). While it has its flaws, I found it an evocative film with a lot of feeling. I wasn’t expecting this at all, figuring I’d be in for a desensitised, explicit ride. It does have a fair bit of nudity, and some sex scenes, but they all feel justified, necessary and narratively consistent – it’s always to an end beyond being ‘hardcore’. It’s rounded out by some tender moments, driven by an exquiste Fassbender performance – I found him absolutely heartbreaking to watch. Of those momemts,  I particularly enjoyed  the restaurant/walk scenes made me smile to myself at the familiarity.

Overall, I found it less a film about shame, and more about intimacy, and the damaging effects of disconnecting the physical and ‘spiritual’ side of love. Someone in the audience made a point that the film suggests that it is not just the commodification of sexual pleasure, but also the ease of access in a big city that can tip a person into destructive cycle. In fact, in many ways, it’s a deeply conservative film, graphic nudity aside. I want to talk about the central character more, but will wait a few weeks so as not to spoil it for people. Set your own views on him.  Luscious, compelling and though provoking – go watch it, if not just for the rustling. I’ll never think about the rustling of clothes and hair in quite the same way again.

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My policy of being out right and honest, in order to suss out what I care about, has mostly worked out brilliantly. I’ve certainly saved myself a lot of needless conversation, and started to have some more useful ones – but it has been tempered by stowing it at times when it would just be narcissistic. For example, I really felt the need to apologise to Jess, the person I saw Shame with for being an idiot back in October. Wasn’t really sure where my head was at and I must’ve come across a bit cold. But she seems content and all’s working out for her both in work and her relationship, so it was unnecessary – it would just be an ego thing. If I’m trying to distinguish between what I care about and what I don’t care about I do know that I really like seeing happy couples.

I have to admit that I also bailed out of it one occasion when it really mattered, but I’ll give that another run and let you know how it goes.

Categories: Film, Musings, Photo
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