Wednesday 16 October 2019

Michael Fassbender’s new movie causes some to walk out of Toronto Festival

Michael Fassbender arrives at the
Michael Fassbender arrives at the "12 Years A Slave" premiere during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival
Michael Fassbender at Guess Portrait Studio Toronto International Film Festival
Michael Fassbender attends the Variety Studio At Holt Renfrew during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival
Actress Sarah Paulson, actress Alfre Woodard, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, director Steve McQueen, actor Michael Fassbender and actress Lupita Nyong'o of '12 Years A Slave'
Steve McQueen, actor Michael Fassbender, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, actress Lupita Nyong'o, actress Sarah Paulson and Alfre Woodard speak onstage at '12 Days A Slave' Press Conference
Alfre Woodard, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, actor Michael Fassbender, actress Lupita Nyong'o, director Steve McQueen and Sarah Paulson attend '12 Days A Slave' Press Conference
Michael Fassbender is tipped for best supporting actor

SOME walk out, others stay to cheer director Steve McQueen '12 Years a Slave' at prestigious festival.

The move's depiction of slaves being beaten, tortured and killed caused division amongst audiences at the Toronto Film Festival.

There was a 10-minute standing ovation for the film at the festival with many in the audience in tears. Critics are already comparing 12 Years a Slave to Schindler's List. And the film is being touted as the frontrunner for next year's Oscars with a Best Picture nomination seemingly guaranteed.

Chiwetel Ejiofor who stars n the movie with Fassbender said the violent scenes in Steve McQueen's adaptation of Solomon Northup's memoir, 12 Years a Slave, were necessary in the bondage tale.

"Solomon's story is full of [violence] but also full of beauty and hope and human respect and dignity," he said. "With Steve there to guide it, we weren't afraid to explore all that, and go to those dark places."

Ejiofor, who plays Northup – a free musician living in Saratoga, New York, who is kidnapped by supposed circus owners in Washington DC and sold into slavery in the South – is seen in one early scene being beaten 15 times with a bat and then whipped 14 times by his kidnappers.

McQueen does not shy away from showing slaves being hanged and killed, and in one particularly harrowing 10-minute scene, a plantation owner Epps, played by Michael Fassbender, strings a slave to a post before ordering her beating. She is shown being whipped 41 times.

McQueen's previous film Shame depicted a sex addict, and Hunger showing the final days of IRA hunferstriker Bobby Sands,  but this time it is likely to be the violence that will attract attention.

The movie is tipped for Oscar glory for  Steve McQueen for best director, Ejiofor for best actor, and Fassbender for best supporting actor.

McQueen and his impressive cast – which also includes Alfre Woodard, Brad Pitt and the Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o – took the stage after the credits rolled at its official world premiere to answer questions.

Pitt, who also served as producer, said: "Steve was the first to ask why there have not been more films on the US history of slavery. It's a question it took a Brit to ask."


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