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6 Oct 2010

I Am Love

Tilda Swinton shines in this impossibly beautiful piece.

Original Title: Io sono l'amore

Rating: R21 (Some Sexual Scenes and Nudity)

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Screenplay: Luca Guadagnino, Barbara Alberti

Cast: Tilda Swinton, Gabriele Ferzetti, Marisa Berenson

Release: 7 October 2010 (SG)

A Golden Village Exclusive

40 years ago in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema, Terence Stamp walked into the residence of a wealthy family in Milan and proceeded to seduce in turn the insecure son, the depressed housemaid, the timid daughter, the repressed mother, and the industrialist father. A force of love that cannot be denied, the stranger’s coming and going breaks up the comfortable, even complacent family and changes everyone irrevocably for life.

In modern day Milan, the old school patriarch of the Recchi family would rather the second generation continue to build on his industrialist legacy, that its men be virile and hard-headed moneymakers and its women perform their duties as pleasant social appendages to the men. But love has other plans for each and every one of them.

The daughter discovers her sexuality and becomes a better photographer than she was a painter; the son meets a girl who transforms him from a gentleman of leisure into a businessman with a heart; an Indian venture capitalist approaches the hard-headed tycoon and turns him into a philanthropist. As for the mother – she falls in love too, but I’ll leave you to see with what or whom, how that happens, and how it breaks her out of her mummified existence as a dinner hostess and an appendage to her husband and children.

While treading the same theme as Teorema, Guadagnino’s piece is far less didactic and predictable. It is an arthouse film with a far more ambiguous story and attitude towards the power of love, more interested in exploring the emotional chaos of its characters. As a consequence, this is a film that takes its time, that isn’t afraid to linger in the right moments – just to capture that elusive emotion, that passing whimsy, that moment of calm before the storm.

I Am Love has gorgeous cinematography, lavishly detailed sets, and beautiful costume design. As a film, it engages both the visual senses and the mental faculties in equal measure.


1. 2010-10-27 21:29  
I am an unconditional admirer of T.Swinton howewer -and maybe because I could not fail of remembering her in 'Orlondo' I was slightly
disappointed as I think she is miscast in the role. T.Swinton has never be shy of expressing sexuality in her films before and she does it well.
She does not however show all the facets the role demand and that is because, I think, she is contrived in a contrived film.
I think Christin Scott Thomas would have been better (remember her
in 'The English Patient').
The film is a beautiful 'piece montee' of a cake, sublime, beautifully
photographed, indeed, but it is all on the the outside more than a rich and delicate taste on the inside as one would have expected and hoped for.
Still, a glorious film but lacking both the touch and the scent of a woman director behind it



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