Director Luca Guadagnino brings André Aciman’s 2007 novel to life in the film “Call Me by Your Name,” released in January 2018.
Aciman described how, while hearing the director Luca Guadagnino’s plan for the end scene of the movie and hearing the primary artist featured on the soundtrack as an American pop singer, his “heart sank.” He felt the story was being portrayed through a vision completely opposite of his own. However, he ended up feeling quite differently once he saw the film in its completeness. According to Vanity Fair, Aciman said, “When I finally saw the film at the Berlin International Film Festival, I was stunned.
“The ending captured the very spirit of the novel I had written in ways that I could never have imagined or anticipated, and as for the music, it resonated with the love of the two young men, so much so that the final scene with Elio and Sufjan’s song stayed with me long, long after I walked out of the movie theater and, as happens so rarely, into the next morning and the evening after that.”
The story is told from the point of view of Elio, a 17 year-old Italian boy played by actor Timothée Chalamet (“Interstellar”), and follows his summer love with Oliver, a 24 year-old American journalist played by actor Armie Hammer (“Cars 3”).
Elio (Chalamet) is spending his summer in his family’s summer/winter villa when Oliver (Hammer) arrives to assist Mr. Perlman, Elio’s father played by American actor Michael Stuhlbarg in his Greco-Roman studies. Over the course of the movie, Elio and Oliver develop a friendship and then a romantic relationship that is never forgotten, nor emotionally concluded by either of them.
The film simultaneously includes picturesque images of small town Italy’s style and nature, while developing a storyline that envelops the audience. Likewise, the close perspective the audience has to the characters, Elio specifically, almost forces them to become emotionally attached to the storyline in one way or another.
Additionally, including two original songs composed specifically for the film by American singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens, the “Call Me by Your Name” soundtrack is a piece of art perfectly maintaining and accompanying the moods of the film and the love between Elio and Oliver. The soundtrack is crafted also to capture the cultural aspects of the movie, with songs distinct to all three included: Italian, American and French.
What makes the film, the story in particular, unique is that there was no opposing force to the pair’s love at any point. Usually in a romance, there is conflict that is keeping them apart.
In “Call Me by Your Name,” there are no obstacles to overcome, and, although the relationship eventually results in heartbreak, it was not because of something Elio and Oliver fought to overcome, it was because of a choice they made independent of any outside conflict. Chalamet describes the movie as “a pure celebration of love.”
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