Irish actor Fassbender tipped for Venice glory

Tue Sep 6, 2011 6:44pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

(Note strong language in paragraph 10)

By Silvia Aloisi

VENICE (Reuters) - A turn as a sex-obsessed New Yorker has made Michael Fassbender a firm favorite for the best actor award at the Venice film festival, capping what reviewers call a breakthrough year for the 34-year-old Irishman.

Fassbender had already impressed film critics with his interpretation of one of the fathers of psychoanalysis, Carl Jung, in "A Dangerous Method," also in competition at the Venice movie showcase.

But it is his performance in Steve McQueen's "Shame," as a handsome executive living comfortably in Manhattan who can only escape his existential angst by seeking casual sex, that has made him the talk of the festival.

"He's a guy who is trying to feel something and then at the same time can't involve himself emotionally with anybody," Fassbender told Reuters in an interview.

"He has this obsession (with) physical encounters that are pretty joyless and definitely non-emotional, and he is abusing himself, he doesn't like himself.

"After these acts, there is a lot of shame and a lot of self-loathing and so he goes out and has to do it again, to get rid of that feeling, and after the fact there is double the shame, so there is this horrible cyclical pattern going on."

Shame is Fassbender's second film with British video-artist McQueen, whom he credited with changing his life by casting him as hunger striker and IRA member Bobby Sands in "Hunger" (2008), another acclaimed movie.   Continued...

<p>Actor Michael Fassbender gestures as he arrives on the red carpet for the film "A Dangerous Method" directed by director David Cronenberg at the 68th Venice Film Festival September 2, 2011. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi</p>