Director: Todd Haynes
Screenwriters: Todd Haynes

Institute History


Poison marks an unconventional feature-directorial debut by Todd Haynes. In three separate, but interrelated and intercut, stories inspired by the writings of Jean Genet, haynes reveals his ability to explore social issues within a popular form. "Hero" gives a mother's odd account of her seven-year-old son's disappearance after he has killed his father. "Horror" tells of a scientist who discovers the source of the sex drive, but an accident results in a frightening reaction. In "Homo" a prisoner falls in love with a fellow inmate and is drowned in obsession, fantasy and violence. Although completely different in content and form, the stories gradually move toward a focus on the themes of transgression and punishment. Ultimately in Poison, characters that breach the accepted social norms receive "due" punishment: the hero disappears, the horror is put to death, and the homo's deviant love is forced into the confinement of his memory.
Within Poison's innovative, disjunctive mix of popular genres, each story remains visually distinct. "Hero" is shot like a conventional TV documentary, whereas "Horror" recreates a black-and-white "B" movie from the sixties. "Homo" is exquisitely photographed in color, much like a dark love story, by last years Cinematography Award winner, Maryse Alberti. The acting is superb, especially in "Homo," where the tension is raised a notch by each meaningful glance and unspoken word. And obviously the careful editing in unequaled. Poison is a uniquely ambitious project accomplished by an imaginitive filmmaker.

— Alberto Garcia

Screening Details

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