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Poison

USA 1990. Director: Todd Haynes
Cast: Edith Meeks, Scott Renderer, Larry Maxwell, James Lyons, Susan Norman

NEW 35mm PRINT! ► After coming to attention with his incendiary short Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, independent filmmaker Todd Haynes made a notable feature debut with this controversial work, condemned by the religious right in the U.S. A disturbing inquiry into deviance and difference, Poison intertwines “three tales of transgression and punishment,” each shot in a radically different style. “Hero” is an oddly touching mock-documentary investigating the disappearance of a little boy who murdered his father and then literally flew out a window. “Homo” is a graphic and violent tale of gay love in prison, derived from the works of Jean Genet. “Horror” is a 1950s-style science fiction thriller about a scientist whose research into the mysteries of the sex drive transforms him into a hideously disfigured sex murderer. While the connections linking the three segments are deliberately kept elusive, an unmistakable spectre hangs over the work as a whole: “Without ever mentioning AIDS, Haynes has made what may be the toughest, most provocative, and least compromised movie on the crisis to date” (J. Hoberman). “Compelling and quirkily intelligent; Genet, one feels, would have been impressed” (Geoff Andrew, Time Out). Colour and B&W, 35mm. 85 mins.

 

preceded by

A Special Surprise Screening of a Short Film

Total length of program: 128 mins.
REVIEWS

"Arguably the strongest American debut feature of the '90s."

Village Voice | full review

"Todd Haynes' Poison is a conceptually bold, stylistically audacious first feature, a compelling study of different forms of deviance."

Variety | full review