Finally it arrived! Luca Guadagnino’s much acclaimed film “Call me by your Name” found a home in Postmodernissimo, the small jewel of a cinema in Perugia, and so I had to gather friends and see just what all the fuss is about.
At Postmodernissimo on Wednesdays films are screened in original language. Wednesday is also discount day, so for the decidedly unchunky sum of €4 a comfortable seat and an English language film, especially one that I really want to watch, are yours. On long winter evenings definitely a ‘no brainer’.
There are three screens, the “Visconti” sala is small, a mere six rows, fifty four seats, and last night it was full. Ok it was the later afternoon screening but I was surprised at the audience, not fringe at all, instead many elderly seemingly well heeled women and some young hetero couples. There too was a smattering of gay couples, me and two straight guys, and I guess inevitably a few of the dirty raincoat brigade, one of whom was sitting behind me (oddly with his ‘wife’?) and annoyingly kicking my seat and grunting throughout the film.
I’m not a film critic, the film is long and some critics state at times slow, but it is utterly beautiful, I drank thirstily every moment not wanting to get to the bottom of the glass. A generous romantic love story that evolves against the backdrop of a dreamily crumbling villa, which like its garden filled with ripe fruit gives bountifully to the unlikely lovers. The setting is a delight, the local countryside has a “must visit” quality, the period cars and accessories from a Sony Walkman to a clunky Telefunken tv add much to the authenticity of the film which I’m certain will do a huge amount to boost tourism and particularly gay tourism in Italy. Italy is just such a fabulous and overlooked destination for a gay holiday. Cinematographically best of all for me although set in 1982 the film does not follow the irritating trend of most period pieces, here especially thinking of ‘The Darkest Hour” filmed in dusky gloom, an annoying trait by directors I guess dully wanting to create atmosphere or a sense of past times, but to be able to watch you want to keep turning on a torch. This film is beautifully lit.
For those of you yet to see the film the young Timothee Chalamet is on screen in virtually every shot. His portrayal of a precocious youth entrancing, that of Armie Hammer a very convincing grad student, and the chemistry generated between them kept the cinema (apart from or maybe including the raincoat behind me) enraptured.
I’m on a mission to remove gender as a defining element of a person so hate writing this next line, but neither leading actor ‘defines themselves as being queer’. To my view they put their all into the film, and act their respective parts with passion, intense sensuality and professionalism. As quoted in the UK Guardian, Luca Guadagnino said “This film is about the blossoming of love and desire, no matter where it comes from and toward what. So I couldn’t have ever thought of casting with any sort of gender agenda … I prefer much more never to label my performers in any way.” I long for the day when labels of sexuality are no longer required.
My two friends loved the film, they saw the romance and love portrayed, regarding the gay leads were non judgemental, and chattered about it enthusiastically all the way back to Gubbio where we headed for another Italian delight, home cooked pizzas.
Guadagnino has in this film done a huge amount to show that love between two men is as natural and exquisite as any other. The Pizzzas too were natural and exquisite, Thanks Matteo!