Friday, December 15, 2017

Call Me By Your Quotes of the Day

First off ahhh look at that picture of Luca Guadagnino on the Suspiria set! Ahh! Second off, a little movie you have maybe heard about called Call Me By Your Name is opening in something like a dozen more theaters around the country today - places like D.C. and Chicago, oh and a couple cities in Canada too, I think. I know how irritable many of you have grown with impatience and believe you me if I hadn't had the opportunity to see the film once by now (much less nine fucking times) I'd probably have gone on a murder spree. I get it. Anyway I'm glad it's finally gaining more theaters and soon enough y'all will have the chance to luxuriate in its wonder. (Here's my first review.)

Since it is opening in new markets there are new interviews and stuff happening, so allow me to luxuriate in some new stuff of that sort. First off I want to share an exchange between Guadagnino and the Chicago Tribune in a just-dropped chat:

Tribune: In light of the current scandals about sexual harassment and sexual abuse of minors, how do you respond to the discomfort with your film's central relationship?
Guadagnino: The percentage of criticism that has come from those who have seen the film, related to what you just said, I would say is 1 percent. The best answer I can give is: Go and see the film, and judge for yourself whether the sexuality is uncomfortable. Having said that, there was a great review of the film by Anthony Lane in the New Yorker that said, in effect, that this movie is the antidote to the climate in which we are living, a climate in which power is a weapon used to crush other people and to exert the violence of your impulses. "Call Me by Your Name" is about consensual desire, discovery and a completely un-power-related relationship.

I highlight that passage because I think it fits very fine with the piece I wrote earlier this week about the film's avoidance of the nitty-gritty of sexual roles between gay men - the whole top and bottom thing and how that would've added a conversation about power that the film was purposefully attempting to side-step. 

Also what Luca says there about Lane's review, about CMBYN being the "antidote to the climate in which we are living," that reminds me of another piece on the film that I shared on Twitter yesterday that I thought was just wonderful - Seventh Row has been doing pieces on the film all week long that have been out of this world good, but I really think you should read this wonderful essay on how the film fits into the canon of "Queer Movies That Some (Straight) People Are Reading As Cold" alongside Carol and Moonlight - movies where the repressed characters are falling in love through coded behavior because they can't outwardly, publicly express their affection. 

I have firsthand experience with this with Call Me By Your Name - I've had two different (straight) friends say they didn't get at all why these two fell for each other, that they didn't see any connection happening between Oliver & Elio. I don't get it - their sparks are flying off the screen at me, but I guess this is a thing. Anyway that's the point of this piece but it's not the point of the specific passage I want to highlight - I want to highlight a passage that speaks to my earlier piece on the film at The Film Experience that talked about how the film is less of an idyll than has been discussed; that the film lives in a willful suspension of The Bad Stuff.

"It’s not that the external forces that haunt gay cinema don’t exist in Call Me By Your Name. It’s that for this one summer, for this one couple, they don’t draw blood. But they’re there. They’re why Oliver pushes Elio against a wall in the town square and says he wishes he could kiss him but can’t. They’re why, as Elio says when they finally do get together, “We wasted so many days.” If only they could have been as open about their feelings as Elio and his girlfriend Marzia (Esther Garrel) are allowed to be. Repression, actually, is all around."

A good part of the film's power, besides its intricate enumerations of First Love, comes from its decision to set itself askance of AIDS and The Closet for the briefest of beautiful and pure moments. Those things are there - we know they are there, hovering outside the theater, just like we know an Infuriating Racist Donald Trump Tweet will be waiting for us outside the theater - and they're giving this thing its shape, pressing in from the outside. How generous to be allowed in this somewhere kind for just a time, then.

Oh and a third bit of news -- did y'all see that interview with Sufjan Stevens where he said that he and Luca had talked about him having an even more prominent role in the movie at first? Talking about an early script he said:

"They had retained the monologue from the older Elio, and he initially asked me to be the voice of the older Elio; to contribute that voiceover. He also asked if I wanted to appear in the movie as a bard, performing the song, almost as a break in the narrative. I got back to him and I said, “I think this voiceover is a mistake, and I think the interruption of me singing the song is a mistake.” I think he was just thinking out loud. I don’t know if he was really committed to the idea. So I said, “I’ll write you some songs, but that’s all I think you need from me.” And he agreed. When I saw the first edit, he said, “You were right, this doesn’t need a monologue or an interruption.”

If you've been following the many many interviews that Luca's given over the past several months for this movie then you know he says a lot of things, A LOT, and I don't think we should think every single one if the gospel of where he's going. We've heard about a dozen sequels and Elio going straight and all sorts of things - I think he's just blessedly unfiltered, and for a constant news-cycle like ours that's worked in his favor, and kept him and the movie bathed in headlines. But I think, just judging by the actual finished movies that he's put out into the world, we can trust that when he actually sits down and makes the thing he knows what works and what doesn't.

Okay last thing and this has nothing to do with CMBYN - a clip from Hostiles, the Christian Bale Western that has what I have heard is an itty bitty role for Timothée in it, has released a clip with Timothée in it, so here is that below. This movie is out next week:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gonna have to save that pic of Suf for later...