Last Updated: March 29, 2013By Tags:

(BY ALI NADERZAD) One of the more unpredictable aspects of the selection in Cannes is the Un Certain Regard program, which showcases a diffident sort of cinema made by directors who are hard to rein in but who have an obvious gift for filmmaking. It would be hard to hesitate calling British director Steve McQueen‘s Hunger an unqualified success–it’s a triumph, even. Thierry Fremaux introduced the filmmaker as well as the cast at the film’s premiere on Thursday, before the Un Certain Regard jury headed by Fatih Akin. Les Cahiers Du Cinema’s Jean-Michel Frodon was also in the audience. As Fremaux blithely told McQueen: “no pressure!” McQueen’s film recounts the no-wash and blanket strikes of IRA political prisoners in Ireland in 1981. Two IRA political prisoners (Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham), spend most of their days in a filthy cell trying to find a way to survive through their crucible. Fassbender goes on a hunger strike which will take him, and you, through to the seventh circle of hell. Yes, Hunger is a very important movie to see but beware for you might be reaching for the emergency button or a sedative in short order. The scenes, beautifully captured images of a supreme elegance, speak directly to the ordeal these men experienced. McQueen, a newcomer on the international film festival scene, has shown such maturity in how he handles his subject matter that it’s hard to believe he’s just getting started in Cannes. Even glare looks good in his images. Here’s a filmmaker to be watched very closely and whose name you should not have any problems forgetting. Afterwards, a visibly moved audience gave McQueen and the cast a well-deserved, ten-minute long standing ovation.