Wednesday, October 04, 2017

New York Film Festival Screenings 2017 2

Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

Based on the novel by André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name gives new meaning to the phrase "coming-of-age story" (no spoilers but if you've read the book/early reviews, you know what I'm getting at). Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet, luminous) is a 17-year-old staying with his academic parents in 1983 Northern Italy. His professor father (Michael Stuhlbarg) brings in a twenty-something guest, Oliver (Armie Hammer, so godlike he could shame Zeus), to help with research and a furtive summer romance blossoms between Elio and Oliver. Guadagnino creates tension from this barely taboo scenario by cutting in the middle of various benign bucolic activities - horseplay in the lake, a countryside breakfast - and the resulting edgy drift carries the film for a good three quarters, particularly two ecstatic dances to The Psychedelic Furs' thematic "Love My Way." But as with André Téchiné's Being 17 from last year, the film grows more conventional inching towards a dénoument that clusters around the limp question of whether or not the two principals will remain together. Would that the final reel were lobbed off despite the nifty new wave ensemble (complete with ubiquitous Walkman) sported by Elio in the final scene (the only time he wears socks too, an admittedly idiosyncratic measure of the scene's conventionality). Girlfriends are conveniently dispensed with (a pernicious tendency in gay cinema), the father lets forth with overwritten Hallmark platitudes, and the repressed Jewishness (almost as central a subject as repressed homosexuality - his family are "Jews by discretion") is barely examined (and forget a class analysis of how these people came to enjoy such a halcyon summer in the first place). I much prefer My Hustler, Andy Warhol's 1965 masterpiece which stops rather than ends and stares right into the intersections between class and sexuality. Still, Call Me by Your Name perfectly captures the head rush of teenage homolust. And to paraphrase The Allman Brothers, eat that peach, baby!

(Lucrecia Martel's Zama was my first NYFF screening. But I'm still trying to process it.)

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Anonymous groovetime said...

"...[A]n idyosyncratic measure" to be sure, but not a surprising one to this queen. ;) Seriously though, this movie revived my faith in twinks and for that alone it deserves props. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm got some peaches to devour...

10:51 AM  

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