If you've not yet heard of Steve McQueen's "Shame," chances are you've been asleep through the entire fall festival season. The "Hunger" director's sophomore feature was the talk of Venice, where it won a no-brainer Best Actor award for Michael Fassbender, and maintained that buzz through Toronto -- where the sexually explicit moral drama was rather adventurously picked up by Fox Searchlight. If any studio can get Fassbender's startling performance into the Oscar race, Searchlight can -- the challenge lies in getting conservative actors' branch voters to watch this severe, presumably NC-17-rated film. (If you ask me, Carey Mulligan deserves equal attention for a career-high turn.) As you know from my Venice review, and Kris' Telluride reaction, we're both fully on board.

"Shame" has its homeland premiere tonight at the BFI London Film Festival; to coincide with that, The Guardian just unveiled the first trailer, which gives a pretty accurate impression of the film's overwhelming sensory qualities. Check it out after the jump.

Guy Lodge is a South African-born critic and sometime screenwriter. In addition to his work at In Contention, he is a freelance contributor to Variety, Time Out, Empire and The Guardian. He lives well beyond his means in London.