Todd Haynes

Todd HAYNES (1961) grew up in Los Angeles and studied Art and Semiotics at Brown University. He made his debut short Suicide at a very young age. Many of his films gave him critical recognition, but only since Far from Heaven has the mainstream public accepted Haynes’ sometimes controversial films, judging by the four Oscar nominations. I’m Not There was very successful with 1 nomination and 3 wins including the Special Jury Prize at Venice 2007. His last film Carol also received Oscar nominations: Cate Blanchett was nominated as Best Actress and Rooney Mara as Best Supporting Actress.


Filmography

Suicide (1978, short), Letter from a Friend (1982, short), Sex Shop (1983, short), Assassins: A Film Concerning Rimbaud (1985, short), Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987, short), Poison (1990), Dottie Gets Spanked (1993), Safe (1995), Velvet Goldmine (1998), Far from Heaven (2002), I’m Not There (2007), Carol (2015)


Todd Haynes at IFFR

Poison

Poison

Stylised feature film which has evoked very polemical reactions in the United States, not least because of its pronounced homo-erotic scenes. Poison was partly financed with government funding (such as The National Endowment for the Arts) and has woken the fury of a puritanical and conservative lobby, personified by Jesse Helms. But if also received the jury film at the Sundance Film Festival.Poison actually comprises three different films (Hero, Horror and Homo), each with its own style and subject, which are interwoven in a manner of speaking. According to Haynes, society is the real protagonist in all three sections; the three leading actors each resist society in his own way.Hero was made in the style of a TV report. It is about seven-year-old Richie who is alleged to have shot his father and then disappeared. Conversations with his mother and classmates create an image of a strange boy rejected by his surroundings.Horror has been shot in the style of old-fashioned horror films, in black & white and with sombre lighting. The protagonist is a obsessed scientist who falls victim to his own experiments and gets a terrible and revolting disease. This section clearly refers to the hysteria and paranoia which accompanies the AIDS epidemic.Homo is based on Miracle de la rose by Jean Genet. Haynes is an admirer of Genet and in the design of Homo he allowed himself to be inspired by his film Un chant d'amour.

Todd Haynes
  • 85'

  • USA

IFFR 1992