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CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, your newest love story obsession

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Call Me By Your Name has just been nominated for the Oscars competition, so you'll probably want to see it. However, that's not why I'm recommending it here. It's because watching a Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash) film is usually a delight if you're in the mood for it, and sometimes even if you're not. It's definitely not for anyone because of its slow pace and poetic shots, but if you're looking for visual poetry and emotional explorations, you've reached the right director.

Call Me by Your Name is adapted from the novel by André Aciman by James Ivory and it takes place in summer, 1983. In the film, young and talented Timothée Chalamet plays Elio, a 17-year-old who spends summers with his academic parents in their rustic villa in Crema in northern Italy. The skinny Elio seems vaguely uncomfortable in his body, but confident in following his intuitions. He's got a lot of girl friends around, but none of them captures his attention like Oliver, the graduate student who comes to help his father with his archaeological work. Elio and Oliver's friendship is an intimate portrait of first loves, with all the emotional turmoil involved in it. Michael Stuhlbarg plays the boy’s father, a middle-aged American professor of classical antiquity living with his stylish wife Annella (Amira Casar), in a dreamy Italian house.

"The Italian director Luca Guadagnino creates a mood of free-floating sexual longing. Oliver never wears long pants, only short shorts or swim trunks, and young men are always doffing their shirts and jumping into sparkling water or riding on bicycles along dirt roads. The flesh tones stand out against the villa’s pale whites and yellow walls — more tactile but on a continuum with the sculptures and oil paintings by men with similar longings centuries ago. Call Me by Your Name is hardly the first film set in Italy to juxtapose youth and beauty and fleeting seasons with ancient buildings and ruins. But I can’t recall such a continuum between the ephemeral and the enduring. [...] The presence of Nature can be felt in every one of cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s frames. It’s reflected in the bodies of the characters. Oliver is hard for Elio — and us — to read. Is he toying with the teenager? Or is something stirring in him, too? In this atmosphere, how can something not be stirring? There’s friction in the uncertainty, heightened when Oliver dances provocatively with Elio’s kinda-sorta girlfriend. The minutes go by and then we’re into the film’s second hour with everything maddeningly —but thrillingly — undefined." (Vulture)

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"Chalamet’s performance as Elio is outstanding, especially in an unbearably sad sequence, when he has to ring his mum from a payphone and ask to be driven home. (In that scene, Guadagnino contrives to show an old lady fanning herself in the right-hand side of the frame. Was she an actor? A non-professional who just happened to be there? Either way, there is a superb rightness to it.) And then there is Stuhlbarg’s speech advising against the impulse to cauterise or forget pain: “We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of 30.” There is such tenderness to this film. I was overwhelmed by it." (The Guardian)

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"The intimacy Guadagnino (and James Ivory, who wrote the film’s script) finds in these characters is present from the beginning, but Chalamet (a 21-year-old budding superstar whom I knew best from an old season of Homeland) is the audience’s way in, as a boy on the verge of adulthood who develops immediate, if confused, attraction to the confident Oliver. Not long after the two first meet, Elio retires to his room and reclines in his bed, looking at the tuft of hair sprouting from his armpit, and lazily blowing on it. A few scenes later, Elio is bold enough to sneak into Oliver’s empty room and put Oliver’s swimsuit over his head. Guadagnino doesn’t include these moments to advance the plot or to let the audience in on some secret; the connection between Elio and Oliver is apparent very quickly. Rather, he’s trying to sketch a portrait of personal, formative experiences of sexuality, and of Elio’s relationship with his own body. It’s tremendously insightful work from a director who has long appreciated actors’ bodies as more than aesthetic objects." (The Atlantic)

Check out the trailer below.

Tags:   news, trailer, film news, Call Me By Your Name

Related:   A Bigger Splash, I Am Love, Call Me by Your Name


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  • AntMan2018   239 posts
    24 days ago
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