Announcing a new Meetup for Los Angeles Film Enthusiasts!What
: I Am Love@ Laemmle's Music HallWhen
: Thursday, August 19,[masked]:00 PMWhere
: Laemmle's Music Hall 3
9036 Wilshire Blvd (between Doheny & Wetherly)
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Tilda Swinton learned to speak Italian and Russian for this movie. Need I say more? Here are two reviews:
Chaos and confusion disrupts the luxurious, carefully ordered life of the Recchis, a wealthy, distinguished, upper-class Italian family when Emma (Tilda Swinton) decides to embark on a scandalous, passionate love affair with her son?s best friend, a talented chef.
As the film begins during the Christmas season in snow-covered Milan, Emma Ricchi (Swinton), a stylish Russian immigrant, has devoted her life to her husband, Tancredi (Pippo Delbono) and their three now-grown children. At a family gathering to celebrate his birthday, her ailing father-in-law (Gabriele Ferzetti), a textiles tycoon, announces that he is retiring and will turn over his company to his son Tancredi and grandson Edoardo/Edo (Flavio Parenti). Then, awhile later, Emma inadvertently discovers that her daughter Elisabetta (Alba Rohrwacher), who lives in London, is a lesbian, a fact that should be secret in Milan?s ultra-conservative patriarchy in the 1950s.
So when this genteel, repressed trophy wife meets young Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini) and visits him in Sanremo, seeing his grandfather?s land on which he plans to build his restaurant, she?s feeling lonely, uncertain and alienated, vulnerable to the emotions that overwhelm her.
When I moved to Milan, I stopped being Russian,? Emma explains to her lover, who, along with ravishing her body has, symbolically, cut her hair short.
Easily classified as a sumptuous cinematic feast, taking its place alongside Ang Lee?s ?Eat Drink Man Woman? and Pixar?s ?Ratatouille,? the lush cuisine is sublime, particularly the glazed prawns. Indeed, Ms. Swinton has proclaims that particular scene as ?prawnography? with Carlo Cracco of Cracco?s restaurant in Milan as an advisor.
Italian director/co-writer/producer Luca Guadagnino is obviously besotted by his leading lady and longtime muse. That?s an unintentional pun since the torrid sex scene consists primarily of close-ups of the lovers? nude bodies that are intercut with shots of pollinating bees, courtesy of cinematographer Yorick Le Saux.
In Italian with English subtitles, on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, ?I Am Love? is an exaggerated yet elegant, opulent, sensual 7, a leisurely-paced, European art-house melodrama that?s made its way into the Cineplex.
"I Am Love" is about the secret life of an Italian wife. And her family.
The chameleon-like Tilda Swinton, alternately resembling Meryl Streep, Catherine Deneuve and Julianne Moore, is like a pale porcelain objet d'art stored in an architecturally stunning and impeccably appointed mansion. If "Dynasty" and "Dallas" taught us anything, it's that privilege does not buy happiness.
And the same lesson is preached in this stylish and glossy, Italian-language melodrama about modern aristocrats that is as absorbing as any soap opera.
Although the screen overflows with loved ones, abundance and servants who silently and seamlessly anticipate and fulfill Swinton's family's every need before they know they need it, the awareness that nothing is really this perfect or this safe invites suspicion about what lies beneath.
Because the sort of perfection portrayed here is like a three-legged stool that requires the collusion of all involved, one false move can cause everything to come crashing down to earth.
And in fact, a fault line of restlessness and disappointment soon develops like rotted wood in the foundation of these lives.
In short order, the patriarch dies, the daughter returns from university with an Ellen DeGeneres haircut, and the sons and father squabble over the diminishing family legacy.
But the primary indiscretion is Swinton's infatuation with a young man whose rugged, back-to-the-earth lifestyle and mountaintop garden plot - where they roll among the vegetables and buzzing insects, and the sweat from their bodies waters the soil - is the antithesis of her privileged and sterile existence.
Swinton's repressed feelings are released in a Proustian moment of ecstasy and pleasure, which illuminates her from within until her eyes burn with desire.
Despite such trappings, director and co-writer Luca Guadagnino has created something substantial.
"I Am Love" is a handsomely mounted, structurally sophisticated and richly atmospheric cultural artifact that portrays how even dizzying luxury cannot protect one from the consequences of one's actions.
The moral is that every pleasure has its price.
As any soap opera fan knows.
I Am Love ***
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Edoardo Gabbriellini, Pippo Delbono, Alba Rohrwacher, Marisa Berenson, Flavio Parenti
Behind the scenes: Produced by Massimiliano Violante, Francesco Melzi D'Eril, Marco Morabito, Luca Guadagnino, Tilda Swinton and Alessandro Usai. Written by Barbara Alberti, Ivan Cotroneo, Walter Fasano and Luca Guadagnino. Directed by Luca Guadagnino.
Rated: R; nudity, sex. In Italian and Russian, with English subtitles.
Approximate running time: 121 minutes
RSVP to this Meetup:http://www.meetup.com/West-los-Angeles-film-fanatics-group/calendar/14431773/