Cameron Bailey selected Steve McQueen as one of the best emerging film directors working today and chose the film Hunger (2008) as an example that best represents his work.
The film follows life in the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland, with an interpretation of the highly emotive events surrounding the 1981 IRA hunger strike led by Bobby Sands. With an epic eye for detail, the film provides a timely exploration of what happens when body and mind are pushed to the utmost limit.
“Hunger pursues the persistence of the flesh as an act of the spirit, until it can persist no more. The final act confronts the viewer with disturbing images of Sands’s suffering emaciated body. In McQueen’s work, the very look of things transmits violence and demands responsibility. It requires close attention to its formal precision, endurance and of its sometimes extreme images, and engagement with rhythmic patterns that close like a tightening fist.”
Cameron Bailey, co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival