Updated: Jul 2, 2019
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Directed by Luca Guadagnino and Written by James Ivory).
I may have arrived late to the hype that is Call Me By Your Name, BUT better late than never. If you have not seen this film yet, you must. Even though I am writing a review on this wonderful film, I should express that no review could possibly put into words exactly how beautifully filmed and written it is. You must go and watch it to experience all it has to offer.
Let me paint a quick picture for you. The colour palette is pastel, there is a warm hazy sunshine that lingers over northern Italy. A family visits their estate to rest, unwind, and come together. Visually this film surpasses any other film of 2017, and as I am a big Romantic Literature genre fan it was like a Franz Ludwig Catel painting, encompassing the hazy coloured. Or a William Blake poem, full of self exploration, full of innocence and freedom, being projected through a modern lens on the silver screen. The settings was every bit spectacular, in its subtle, peaceful and pure perfectness as the storyline.
We are taken back in time to the 1980's, where we meet a 17 year old Elio during his summer vacation at his beautiful house in northern Italy. His father has invited an American scholar, Oliver down to help assist with his Archaeological finds. What becomes of this long warm summer is the connection between two souls, and the love and passion that can be experienced. Yes this is a gay film, however, it is so much more than just a genre. This is a film that anyone can watch, it does not matter what gender you lean towards, this film is about humans emotion on an untainted and pure level.
This coming of age film has been cast brilliantly, with Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer holding the lead roles. I really must applaud Chalamet for his acting, which received a nomination for an Academy Award and BAFTA. He is able to draw the viewer in on his wave of emotions, which clearly make us relate to our very own first love. Elio is able to explore his desires in a world that has no prejudice and bias as to who should and shouldn't be loved, but only acceptance. Everyone is able to relate to being 17 and falling in love, and the way that Guadagnino has placed this in such a beautiful and remote setting adds to the nostalgia, and longing that keeps pulling at the viewers heart strings. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Guadagnino stated that, 'it was important for me to create this powerful universality because the whole idea of the movie is that the other person makes you beautiful and enlightens you, elevates you'. May we all learn from his message, as it is with this theme of Elio and Oliver building each others characters, that makes us as viewers reflect on our own relationships. How does your other half elevate and enlighten you?
In my opinion what helped Guadagnino pull his audience into this universal emotion that he was able to portray, was through the music. Stevens was asked to be a part of the project to 'create a narrative through music'. Throughout the film Sufjan Stevens' music is heard ranging from uplifting, to hauntingly nostalgic.
Mystery of Love:
Visions of Gideon:
These are my favourite three songs, they are able to compel, but leave an element of mystery so that they are easy to relate back to ourselves. It is hard not to listen to Stevens music without feeling that he is singing about your own existence.
The beauty of Stevens music is the association is creates, through his use of soft and idyllic sounds that conjure nostalgic memories. Nostalgia was woven so deeply into the movie, because it is a basic human emotion. The marriage of Guadagnino direction and Stevens music helped to portray a sense of longing, and yearning to be transported to a beautiful summers day. Where one is able to be youthful, passionate and act on desire, while finding out about love in a world that is not exposed to any negativity or pressures.