Producers’ Film Picks for March 2018
The theme for this month – Swimming in Relativity
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Written by James Ivory (Maurice, Shakespeare Wallah), adapted from an Andre Aciman novel and directed by Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash.) Shot by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (Syndromes and a Century, Arabian Nights.)
Starring Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel and Victoire Du Bois.
“If you’ve ever wanted to spend an entire summer at an Italian villa hanging out with Hammer, just swimming, reading, listening to New Wave music and wearing extremely fetching and comfortable clothes, then have I got a movie for you.
“Call Me By Your Name is the latest drama from Italian filmmaker Guadagnino, and it’s a romanticized look back at the formative years of Elio (Chalamet), a teenaged musician spending the season with his parents at their gorgeous estate. Elio’s father, Mr. Perlman (Stuhlbarg), is a professor who rents out a room every summer to a visiting scholar, and this year -1983 – he has selected Oliver (Hammer), an affable and handsome young man.
“Elio spends the majority of the summer figuring out his feelings towards Oliver, a man with easy charm and joyously mediocre dance moves. Elio seems to have mastered the art of cool, flirting with the young ladies in town with perfectly imperfect hair, tousled just so.” William Bibbiani, ign.com
“Neither Elio nor (especially) Oliver are quite rich enough as characters to outshine their surroundings, and, although it’s rare to see a movie of this sort that is so markedly nonjudgmental, the lack of sharp conflict doesn’t make for a terribly invigorating experience.” Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
“A lot of Call Me By Your Name has a hazy, meandering quality to it. In its final moments, as summer draws to a close, Ivory’s script and the performances shift into sharp focus. While Hammer strikes a convincing balance between confidence and melancholy, the film ultimately belongs to Chalamet and Stuhlbarg. Elio’s father gives a lengthy, tender monologue that gently acknowledges his son’s sexuality, but is about a lot more—the need for heartbreak, and how it is an essential component of a life well-lived.” Alan Zilberman, Washington City Paper
“It’s one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever seen onscreen, for its simplicity and its honesty and its humanity. Maybe the most astonishing thing about Call Me by Your Name is how what seems complicated here at first — such as Elio’s mixed up emotions about everything — is really very uncomplicated. Everything is simple and natural here: Doesn’t everyone’s lazy summer involve bringing up ancient statuary from sunken ships in the lake? Who doesn’t like an extended practical joke about etymology? Isn’t everyone casually fluid sexually? (Elio has a girlfriend, Marzia (Garrel), though she cannot hold a candle to Oliver in Elio’s eyes, the poor girl.) Shouldn’t every day be as full of sensuality as Elio’s summer with Oliver is?” MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filopher
My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Written and directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk.) Edited by Curtis Clayton (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Buffalo 66.)
Starring River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo, William Richert, Rodney Harvey and Chiara Caselli.
“My Own Private Idaho” is about two very different male hustlers who cross paths on Portland, Ore.’s, skid row, become close friends for a while, then separate. Mike Waters (Phoenix) is a good-looking, none-too-bright young fellow, the product of a dramatically dysfunctional family, whose career opportunities are affected by his narcolepsy. Mike has a terrible tendency to fall asleep, suddenly and deeply, when faced with a situation in which he can’t cope.
“A very different sort is Scott Favor (Reeves), who has the manners, self-assurance and handsomeness associated with an idealized preppie.” Vincent Canby, New York Times
Written by Olivier Massart, Gilles Taurand, Andre Techine, and directed by Techine (My Favorite Season, Being 17.) Cinematography by Jeanne Lapoirie (Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie?, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem.)
Starring Gael Morel, Elodie Bouchez, Stephane Rideau, Frederic Gorny, Jacques Nolot, and Eric Kreikenmayer.
“At the center of the story is Francois (Morel), a rather shy, introverted young man who is staying at a boarding school. When a new student, Serge (Rideau), who is a much more rebellious person, comes to stay at the school, they become friends, and to Francois’ shock, finds Serge in his bed late one night. After this encounter, Serge strays farther away from him, and it is apparent that he is not interested in a relationship, but he leaves Francois utterly confused about his own sexuality. Also a large part of the story is Maite (Bouchez), Francois’ long-time female best friend, who obviously has deep feeling for him, and the oldest student at the boarding school, Henri (Gorny), who is about to turn 21, and has purposefully failed each year because he is afraid to face the ‘real world.’
“Something I have noticed lately is that the characters in US films almost always act like immature children, and in most foreign films, the characters are infinitely more intelligent and interesting people. “Wild Reeds” proves this point to a T, even though these characters are still in high school.” Dustin Putman
Call Me By Your Name is currently showing at the Grand Cinema.
My Own Private Idaho will screen at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, March 2 in the Center for Spiritual Living (206 N. J St).
Wild Reeds will screen at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, March 9 in the CSL.