From 'Shame' to 'Showgirls,' why the MPAA's highest rating is no badge of dishonor
2. “Poison” (Todd Haynes, 1992)
Inspired by the writing of Jean Genet and splicing together faux-documentary, sci-fi and queer romance narratives, Todd Haynes’s feature debut is such a brazen study of social and sexual difference and isolation that it would scarcely have been appropriate for the MPAA to approve of it: “explicit sexuality” ensured that wasn’t a problem. More aggravated by the film, however, was the American Family Association, who objected to the National Endowment for the Arts funding this and other gay-themed works. No matter: Haynes took top honors at Sundance and grew into one of America’s most vital auteurs, though he has yet to vex the censors again.
Photo Credit: Zeitgeist Films