Poison

Feature Film USA 1991

The poison of the title is sex. The film consists of three poisonous stories of alienation, using  three different genres: fake or semi-documentary, black and white science fiction and horror films of the Fifties. A moody spiritual,sensual melò, which contains intentional references to Un Chant d'Amour and Querelle de Brest. Jean Genet is actually recognised as the disquieting muse of the three stories, just as homophobia constitutes a more than implicit subtext. Abuse, disaster and perversion are at the core of the three episodes of the film, Hero, Horror and Homo. This is the first feature film, though still fragmentary in form, to be directed by Todd Haynes after his two short films. All his future themes are already emerging: the moral decay of bourgeois society, disease as a metaphor, homosexuality as a magnificent obsession. He will revive all these themes in his later works, from Safe to Far from Heaven. The issues, style and subjects he returns to are still those that more or less dominated the gay scene in the early Nineties, thanks to the new queer cinema and a new wave of openly gay directors in their thirties, as, for example, Gregg Araki, Tom Kalin and John Greyson, who worked to develop new forms of expression and to create a new aesthetic "movement". This film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, the Pardo d'oro at the Locarno International Film Festival and the Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

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