Thursday, January 04, 2018

The Last Time That You Touched Me

I had been hesitant to post the above gif when I saw it last week - even though I have things to say about it! - because it comes from a scene in Call Me By Your Name that hadn't been released in any promotional materials yet. The only reason it had made its way onto Tumblr was because, as you might have heard, the film itself leaked online via somebody's screener. But now I feel no such qualms because Sufjan Stevens just dropped a video for his song from the film called "Mystery of Love" and that shot shows up in the video!
So now it has been released as a promotional material, 
and I can talk about it! Hooray for another reason 
to talk about Call Me By Your Name

The shot in the film itself looks like this (someone on Tumblr reversed the colors back, which is how we get the gif up top) and comes near the end of the film - so if you haven't seen the movie yet stop reading this, and why were you reading this anyway?!? - and I still haven't worked out whose head it is supposed to be inside of. 

The entire sequence is like this: Oliver is standing naked at the window looking out. This is the morning right before they say goodbye at the train station. Oliver looks at the bed and we see Elio is asleep. And then we see several flashes of images with the colors reversed - we also see them clambering over the war memorial that plays an integral part in the middle of the film. 

So the idea of the images is "If only we'd been able to live our lives free and out in the open, oh what fun we would have had." But whose head are these images supposed to come from? We see them immediately after that shot of Elio sleeping, so they could be Elio's Dream. But it's also possible they are Oliver's thoughts standing there looking at Elio as he sleeps.

bike tracks

The probable definite answer is "It doesn't matter - at this point Oliver is Elio and Elio and is Oliver, they can call each other by the other's names and these dreams could be the dreams of either or both of them at this moment."

But it's a sequence that has fascinated me since the very first time I saw the film and only now that we have access to the images slowed down and reversed do I even have a handle on what we're even seeing in this scene - I have seen the movie in the theater eleven times and it didn't matter how much I prepped myself to figure out what I was seeing in this sequence, it always eluded me until now. For a long time I thought they were images that we had actually seen previously in the movie, but knowing now that we're seeing this Unrealized Public Ideal, this ode to What Might Have Been... well it only breaks my heart even further.


Shawn McGuire said...

That dream sequence makes me think of how distorted Elio’s view of his feelings were. The lack of clarity is what contributed to his not having connected with Oliver sooner. The sequence is a vibrant punch of light, but it’s also garrish and terse. A side question, do you think Sufjan will ever come out? I feel like his contribution to this film is a good start.

JA said...

I hope he feels comfortable talking about it at some point, Shawn! I know he comes from a religious background and is still religious and all that is difficult, but that's why he should, honestly. His voice would do some good. But it's up to him, obviously. He apparently doesn't want to be that voice. His music has soothed plenty of gay boys in the meantime :)

Anonymous said...

The film leaked???!!!

Chris said...

Interesting choice for the first official ‘music video’ release, if that’s what it is. With two Oscar worthy songs, I think Visions of Gideon is the stronger candidate. Those lyrics paired with Elio’s morphing of emotions against that flickering fire sucks of the oxygen from my lungs. Every. Time. You are seven viewings ahead of me, and I just finished re-reading the book. I have never experienced such a transformative film. Yes, the acting is transformative, the directing, screenwriting and music. But I mean transformative, for the viewer - if you let it (and how can you not)! I applaud your passion for this film. I want to read into every frame. Does everything mean something? The bathing suite montage edited in the order of red, yellow, then green. Ready, set , go? The flies? What do they mean, if anything? They only live a short time? I need a DVD commentary and its not even in wide release.

retropian said...

Initially, on my 1st viewing I thought it was Elio dreaming, but it could very well be Oliver thinking back on their summer. I'm going to go with it being Elio's dream because of how the colors were so unnatural and distorted. It's all very dreamlike and surreal. If it was Oliver reminiscing I would think those scenes would have appeared with normal color etc., like other flashback scenes in innumerable films. And yes, will Sufjan ever come out?

Nick said...

Luca said in a Q&A I went to that these shots are from scenes they filmed but didn't make it into the final cut of the film. Also his choice for reversing the color was inspired by the scene in Cape Fear. It's supposed to be Elio dreaming of the two of them and is supposed to show us what he is dreaming of while Oliver watches him.

Anonymous said...

Back in 1985, I backpacked through Europe. A young man of 18 at the time. There were many times the hostiles I stayed at were small villages like this. This film didn’t really give me an impression of being 80s; this was much more timeless and indistinguishable. However, the end, during the winter chapter, Elio had a very distinctive 80s look. That jacket and hair reminded me of my own silly attempts at being trendy during that time.
Anyway, I spent so many hours on trains during that trip. I played the Go West cassette hundreds of times. That album was me during that time in my life. The song, We Close Our Eyes, reminds me of this movie in a way.

Inside everyone hides one desire
Outside no one would know
Danger close to edge of the knife
Safer not to let go
And while we miss chances
You can almost hear time slipping away
We close our eyes we never lose a game
Imagination never lets us take the blame
We close our eyes to see the final frame
We close our eyes to time slipping away...

Anonymous said...

This film is everything to me. It now has my heart. I have never felt so connected to something.