I can't stop thinking about Call Me By Your Name. I'm profoundly moved. It's a love story we've seen a million times; forbidden, new, confusing, fleeting, passionate, soulmate kind of stuff. But the way it unfolds and the acting, the Italian countryside and the quiet moments, make it feel like nothing I have ever experienced on film.
I have so many questions. Was Timothee Chalamet chosen because of his natural idiosyncratic nature or was this an artistic approach he worked on with the director? These idiosyncrasies permeate everyone else: The quirky and subtle behavior - the father hopping to the dinner table or "mock" blowing smoke into the air with his wife, Oliver falling into the pool in the middle of a conversation and auditory and visual clues into this world - the fish caught for dinner (fish out of water), the fly that hovers around Elio like he is a sweet piece of fruit - a reflection of the sensuality of the peaches and apricot juice he's surrounded by in the vineyards and meals, and the door slamming in the hallway with the wind. I had no idea what that sound was for a whole scene (and later, the door slamming shut when they are trying to be secretive). It's 1983 and no one is connected to technology, only to each other and the Italian countryside. They spend their time reading, playing piano, dancing, laying out in the sun, dreaming, studying ancient Greek statues, having sex, and thinking and falling in love. It was a beautiful treat to be immersed in a world like that and one I was a part of until Facebook and smartphones came along (Armie Hammer said if the story had been set in modern times, Elio and Oliver never would have gotten together because they would be too engrossed in their online social lives).
The second time I saw it, the theater was full and people laughed at all the little joyous, beautiful, silly moments (Elio throwing the peach pits onto the floor, or when he mumbles things under his breath). What about the unexpected love and compassion of Elio's parents? It wasn't a "coming out" trauma. The mystery and ambiguity of their sexuality creates another layer - maybe Elio is gay, or bisexual or maybe he is never with a man again. We can guess about Oliver but don't know (I haven't read the book) and the fact that it doesn't matter because it's just about love. And the music. All of the music, from the piano score to Sufjan Stevens to Psychedelic Furs. And the dialogue/scene when Elio tells Oliver, without any specific words, how he feels. I was a little confused the first time I saw this scene, because it was so stripped down and all about allusion and tone and speaking without saying the words. It's so brilliant. I wish I wrote and directed it. I want to make something that moves people like this, that captures unspoken beauty and time and "moment." It was slow and easy, like that Italian summer. You could breathe. I haven't been this moved and felt so much in a long time. And the love...it made me feel so much. Thank you Luca Guadagnino, for taking my breath away.
News from the Captain's Quarters.