Keswick Film Club - Reviews - Call Me By Your Name

Reviews - Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name

Reviewed By Stephen Pye

Call Me By Your Name
Call Me By Your Name
At Candlemastide film-club goers at the Alhambra were treated to a
film in every way as beautiful and iridescent as the season. As the
snow fell "somewhere in Northern Italy" there was also a deep
appreciation amongst the watchers of this languidly beautiful film,
which, rightly deserves its universal acclaim from the critics.
 
'Call Me By Your Name' has been eulogised-deservedly- ever since its
Sundance premiere. The film is so truthful in tone and so 'real' in
its setting and sensibility that you would think that it had grown out
of nature; that the story's seeds had blown toward Italian filmmaker
Luca Guadagnino, from the source novel about gay love by Andre
Aciman, and planted themselves in a villa's grounds in Lombardy. A
tree grows up-many- leaved and rustled by breezes of reality-in the
form of this bewitching 1980s-set movie. That James Ivory co-
wrote the screenplay may help to explain the film's sense of place-
with its subtly exquisite intersection of locations and emotions- and
its rock-firm narrative structure, barely noticed while you are
watching. Very simple too. A visiting American academic is mutually
attracted to the son of the villa's host.
 
But the film is less about gay love, and more about love's restraint
and tenderness, and its almost inevitable disappointments. It has to
do too with the evanescence of teenage attraction to both sexes,
and the comforts of reading and music.  Set as it is in an almost
earthly paradise, the films tentative quality reflects the temporary
nature of this summer of love, whilst at the same time pointing to
Eros’s enduring values; literally illustrated by the nude statues
hauled up from the sea’s bed.
 
The film's genius is that it never settles into a steady track. Shots
are often held too long or too short, by orthodox rules. Piano runs
ambush the soundtrack, most notably John Adam's 'hallelujah
junction'. Food plays a significant part in this visual feast, the apple
in this paradise has been replaced by the peach!!
 
The most poignant moment for me, after the girl departing on her
bicycle in a red dress, were the closing words from the boy's father,
superbly played by Michael Stuhlbarg, almost a benediction, that
does a job for mum and dad: tender, understanding, protective, and
admonitory only in the most loving and far-seeing sense: like the
film itself.

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