This article contains spoilers
At this year’s Golden Globe Awards, many films were awarded for their cinematography, editing and acting. But one film that was nominated went unrecognized among the crowd.
Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name” was as beautiful as it was purposeful. Taking place in 1980s Italy, the film follows Elio, a teenage boy, as he struggles with his attraction to Oliver, a research assistant of Elio’s father. The two bond over Elio’s father’s work, which consists of studying the art of ancient sculptures.
Timothée Chalamet’s performance as Elio, the main character of the film, rightfully earned him a nomination for Best Actor in a Drama. The role of Elio was surely a difficult one – the final shot is a seven minute long close up of his face as he stares into the fireplace and cries. However, Chalamet took this role and made it his own with a performance that deserved the award it was nominated for. The same could be said for Armie Hammer, who portrayed Oliver in the film. While the role of an older man may seem unconventional in comparison to Chalamet’s character as a 17-year-old boy, Hammer plays Oliver in a natural enough manner to make the audience more comfortable with the age gap between the characters.
Another major aspect of the film’s significance as an art piece was its score. In the scene of Elio and Oliver riding their bicycles through the captivating Italian landscape, the instrumental track that plays seems to carry the viewer into the film. As the two bike through grassy fields and down a secluded path, the music suddenly stops – almost as if to say, “Pay attention!” This subtle yet significant editing method is the director’s way of grabbing the attention of the audience, almost as if waking them from a dream. The song “Visions of Gideon” by Sufjan Stevens, written specifically for “Call Me By Your Name,” evokes Elio’s emotions within the viewers.
The cinematography in “Call Me By Your Name” was very well thought-out, with the use of lighting being a compelling aspect of the film’s shot composition. In a scene toward the end of the film, Oliver stands facing a window of the room where he and Elio are staying. In the blue light of morning, he is silhouetted and made to resemble Michelangelo’s Statue of David, undoubtedly an attempt by Guadagnino to allude to the art forms that have been studied throughout the film. “Muscles are firm, not a straight body in these statues, they’re all curved,” Elio’s father says at one point in the film. “Sometimes impossibly curved, and so nonchalant. Hence, their ageless ambiguity, as if they’re daring you to desire them.”
Overall, “Call Me By Your Name” is a film worth watching, if not for its stunning cinematography then for its symbolic beauty as an art piece. Despite its slow development at the beginning, the film brought together many strong aspects to create a final product that is both deliberate and beautiful.
- Great acting
- Strong emotional value
- Excellent cinematography
- Slow pacing
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures