American gay director Todd Haynes’s 1995 film Safe, a part-horror, part-allegory of life in an era of HIV/AIDS, is being re-released. Haynes is an auteur who does not shy away from confrontation. By 1995 he had already established himself as a director of note by making Superstar, a stop-animation film about the life of Karen Carpenter using Barbie dolls, and Poison, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Safe stars Julianne Moore as a troubled, bourgeois Southern Californian struggling to find herself. The film, produced by Christine Vachon of Killer Films fame, was not widely released for legal reasons. It was way ahead of its time and has the austere, menacing style of a Kubrick film. The film won many prizes at film festivals and is considered by many to be a masterpiece. It’s entirely different from Haynes’s most recent film, Far From Heaven, but well worth seeing. It will screen from 20 May for a brief season at Palace Academy Twin, Paddington.

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