There’s something intoxicating about Italy – the lazy elegance, languid charm, sunwashed atmosphere, crumbling splendour – and these flavours were exquisitely captured and evoked in Luca Guadagnino’s sensual and engrossing coming-of-age romance Call Me by Your Name, based on André Aciman’s novel and with a screenplay by James Ivory. What made it especially remarkable was the way in which the politics of queer cinema (even if largely understated here) in a bourgeois intellectual liberal social setup were largely subsumed by the sensuous nature of the portrayals. 17-year old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) lives with his wealthy, erudite and left-libertarian Jewish-Italian parents – warm-hearted father (Michael Stuhlbarg) who’s a respected archeology professor, and dazzling, multi-lingual mother (Amira Casar) – in the beautiful town of Crema in the Lombardy region. He’s an introverted and emotionally vulnerable guy floating through life and largely contented in his personal space – he’s passionate about reading, is a gifted pianist, has a hobby for transcribing music, likes whiling away his time with his affectionate parents or strolling around, and is in a brewing relationship with a lovely young woman (Esther Garrel). His largely tranquil life, however, experiences a tremendous sexual and emotional upheaval upon the arrival of Oliver (Armie Hammer), a dashing American post-doc researcher on a short term exchange and who’ll stay over at their mansion during this period. Confident, extroverted, articulate and popular with the girls, he couldn’t be more different than Elio; and hence, their initially tentative but eventually passionate intimacy reveals them in their diverse shades while consuming them emotionally. Resplendently photographed and liltingly scored, the film comprised of fine turns by all and perhaps one of the most outrageous usages of a fruit in cinema.
Director: Luca Guadagnino