Presented at the Toronto Film Festival the new film by Italian director Luca Guadagnino was welcomed by a chorus of applause and great public love. ‘Call me by your name’, the love story set in the 1980s in the warm, sensual Italian province of Crema, is Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of the novel by André Aciman.
Co-screened with James Ivory, the film features Timothée Chalamet, acting as Elio – seventeen, father archaeologist (Michael Stuhlbarg), French mother (Amira Casar) – and Armie Hammer, as Oliver – American visiting European, mature, handsome -; The Perlman family hosts him in the great country house near Crema, a place suspended in time (photographed by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom) full of books, leisure, tunnels and desires. Elio initially looks at Oliver with suspicion, but, one summer ritual after another, he breaks the knot and abandons himself to his feelings.
Guadagnino was not interested in a gay love story: “I want to make a film about people, about relationships, and what unites us all”. Hammer says: “I put myself completely in his hands in terms of his taste and sensitivity. I admit I was scared when I read the screenplay. I was not sure to be able to express those beautiful, delicate moments of intimacy between Elio and Oliver. And I’m not talking about sex but about emotional bonds. Luca looked at me and said: ‘Armie, if you do not take any risk in life, why do you make movies?’”. Guadagnino describing how the movie came to be said: “During the negotiations, the film went from a $12 million budget to one of $3 million and from 12 weeks shootings to 5”. While about the casting, Guadagnino explains that Timothée Chalamet (Interstellar) had been part of the project since the first day when the production machine was started, while “I am totally in love of Armie’s; I met him after Fincher’s Social Network, his performances are amazing and profound.
It has the charm of a strong man, as described in the novel. André Aciman sets the story in the 1980s, and it was no coincidence that at that time the boys seemed a bit older. Oliver is 24, Armie looks like 27. It was perfect for the role.”