16 March 2010

I Am Love / Io sono l'amore (Luca Guadagnino, 2009, Italy)

I come away from reading reviews of this movie feeling like I haven't seen enough Visconti films. So far I've seen La terra trema and Senso and based on those I don't know that I'd have jumped to compare his work to this film. Of course, those are early films and probably not the ones people mean when they reference Visconti in relation to this film.

The film is really gorgeous. I often find myself wondering why so few filmmakers are interested in telling their stories with luscious, thoughtfully composed shots. The music in the movie is mostly pretty powerful as well. There's kind of a lot going on in this movie and I'm not sure I've come to rest on it yet. It stars Tilda Swinton as the Russian wife of the son of an aging Italian industrialist. Shortly before the industrialist dies, he passes the company on to Tilda's husband AND son. Much to her son's disappointment, her husband makes a lot of changes that are hard on the workers and eventually they sell the plant to some Hindi-American individual who seems likable enough but very much a proponent of the amoral avarice that has dominated business in recent decades. Tilda discovers that her daughter is a lesbian and this supposedly inspires her own transgressions. She falls in love, you see, with her son's best friend. A tragedy comes about in a cheesy way and then this fabulous ending comes about that is so lusciously art-movie-ish and there is a sort of escape. I'll really have to see it again because I was so dazzled by the sights and sounds I'm afraid a fair amount of stuff was lost on me. I can't decide if it's really as good as it seemed or if it's just glossy trash... B+/A-

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