TIFF 2017 Movie Review: CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (France/Italy 2017) **1/2

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME.jpgSummer of 1983, Northern Italy. An American-Italian is enamored by an American student who comes to study and live with his family. Together they share an unforgettable summer full of music, food, and romance that will forever change them.

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writers: James Ivory (screenplay), André Aciman (based on the novel by)
Stars: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg

Review by Gilbert Seah

The gay coming-out story CALL ME BY YOUR NAME arrives at TIFF after rave reviews from its Sundance and Cannes premieres.

It boasts the direction of Italian auteur Luca Guadagnino ( I AM LOVE and A BIGGER SPLASH) and a script by James Ivory. The film explores the tender, tentative relationship that blooms over the course of one summer between a 17-year-old boy on the cusp of adulthood, Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and his father’s research assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer).

The father is American professor Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) and each summer, the professor invites a doctoral student to visit and help with his research. While Elio has a beautiful girlfriend who takes up most of his emotional time, he also finds a growing physical attraction to the visitor.

The film is a major disappointment being all good-looking on the outside and feeling like a fairy tale, neglecting the downers of coming-out gay. Things never turn out this perfect in any gay coming-out story. The film feels even more awkward as Elio looks way under below the age of 18.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AMgliTBFKU

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Happy Birthday: James Ivory

jamesivory.jpgHappy Birthday director James Ivory

Born: James Francis Ivory
June 7, 1928 in Berkeley, California, USA

QUOTES:

[on his affinity to India] It wasn’t as though I had a childhood preoccupation with India. It was completely accidental and was based on my seeing The River (1951) and later on seeing a group of miniature Indian paintings. And then, most important, seeing the films of Ray, the Apu trilogy. That’s what really got me started – a combination of things spread out over a period of six or so years.

[1984 interview] The first book she gave me to read was “The Europeans”; then I went through them all. But it’s very hard to get financing for a Henry James story. I spent many years trying with The Europeans (1979) and finally got the money from Britain. And the same with this one: a little American money, but, again, the English came up with most of it. Henry James just isn’t box office here, apparently. He’s more appreciated in England.

Ismail (Merchant) was very keen for us to do A Room with a View (1985). We had paid for the rights and it was just sitting there. But Ruth (Prawer Jhabvala) and I were working on another screenplay, a contemporary story, and I said, “Must we? I don’t want to do another period film right now.” Thank God we did! Because of that film a lot of opportunities were created in studios. They couldn’t understand how a film which cost $3.5 million to make could make $70 million at the box office. They thought we had some great secret.