Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Countries & Regions: Italy
Length: 119 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 13 September 2010
Cat No: MTD5547
Screen ratio 1:1.78
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I Am Love
Tilda Swinton stars in this drama by Italian director Luca Guadagnino. Set among the upper classes in turn-of-the-millennium Milan, the... Read More
The critically eulogised I Am Love begins as the tale of the aristocratic Recchis, a super-rich Milanese textile clan teetering on the brink of chaos as the seeds of modernity, eros and dissolving class boundaries threaten old, long-standing values. The film is also a rich and knowing fabric of cinematic allusions, from a tragic employment of a Hitchcockian MacGuffin to an Antonionian fascination with the anatomy of upper-class ennui.
Emma (Tilda Swinton) is the regal, inscrutable head of the household, a woman whose taut physical composure and immaculate self-possession hint at imminent combustion. She is married to the elderly industrialist Edoardo Recchi Sr (Gabriele Ferzetti), and their relationship is caring though stale, joyless, and largely contractual. Emma will eventually fracture this cold veneer of stability in spectacular – and tragic – fashion.
In a foreshadowing of her own fate, Emma’s daughter, Elisabetta (Alba Rohrwacher), has recently left her boyfriend, and confessed in secret to loving a woman.
Meanwhile, her son, Edo, is planning the launch of a new restaurant with a talented working-class chef named Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini). A chance encounter between Emma and Antonio sets in motion a compulsive, dreamlike affair, with their romance rapturously charted through close-ups of Antonio’s food. Their passion is fervent, and frees Emma from aristocratic sterility at a pace that can only anticipate tragedy.
The initial glossy, ad-man’s aesthetic of the camera work – a fetishistic, yet detached attention to sartorial detail, or sweeping, distanced navigations of the Recchi mansion – gradually yields to a vivid canvas of Baroque sensory opulence. In turn, the film breaks out of a snow-laden Milan into a gleaming screen of radiant sunlight and verdant countryside. The transition is a triumphant mirroring of a love affair that explodes social and familial constraints in a stirring assertion of personal joy, and sits in symbolic harmony with the film’s wonderfully strident John Adams score.