Out and About
“Call Me By Your Name” special presentations at TIFF Bell Lightbox (Toronto)
For anyone who hasn’t heard yet, Call Me By Your Name, is one of the most talked about films of 2017/18, and Oscar buzzing for Best Picture as well. And for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, there are two unique screening opportunities that are happening at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox. Snapshot review below.
The latest from director Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash) explores the tentative relationship that blooms between Elio (Timothée Chalamet), a 17-year-old boy on the cusp of adulthood, and his professor father’s older research assistant Oliver (Armie Hammer), who joins the family at their vacation villa over the course of an Italian summer. With a script by James Ivory, Guadagnino has fashioned André Aciman’s 2007 novel of sexual awakening into a note-perfect tale of forbidden love.
When the sold-out audience at Monday evening’s special presentation with author André Aciman were asked who has seen the film more than once, 90% of attendees raised their hands. I was in the 10% who hadn’t, and this raised my expectations even more as to what a great film I was about to witness. However, to my disappointment, I honestly don’t see what all the hype is about. The audience was a mix of genders, sexuality’s, and ages, who willingly went back to watch this two-hour + film that was basically about nothing at all, much like a Seinfeld episode. It’s being billed as a “gay movie”, much like last year’s Oscar winner, Moonlight, was. I disagreed on that label being used for that film, and disagree on this one as well.
If for whatever reason one has to classify films by their sexuality, Call Me By Your Name, would fall into the category of “questioning” from within the LGBTQ alphabet. I find it disheartening that in 2017, a film is still considered ground-breaking when two straight actors play characters that have intimate relationships with each other. I was hesitant to see this when I heard it ran over two hours in length, as no film need to take that long to tell a story, especially this one. Of course, both characters are shown flirting with females first, before they actually “act” on their impulses between each other. After finally “doing it”, they become “closer friends”, as their former female “friends” are cast aside.
Throughout the film, I kept thinking that the Elio’s father was the gayest thing about this movie, and in the cliched ending to this movie, he tells Elio he understands that it was likely more than a friendship he and Oliver had, and that he was accepting of that. He also said he wished he himself would have had the opportunity to explore more of his own sexually before meeting Elio’s mother. The film is predictable in the way it portrays “gay” characters as being closeted, bisexual, and questioning. Also, if this is being touted as so leading-edge, why is it that female breasts are proudly displayed when the male-female characters have sex, yet no male genitalia are shown during the same-sex scenes? Now that would be pushing boundaries!
I know I’m in the minority here with my opinion, but I personally feel there are much better indie films out there depicting a more real and accurate portrayal of queer life. For those of you who did enjoy the movie, apparently there might be a sequel (of sorts) in the works, which will deal with AIDS, something not mentioned in the book this movie was based on.
Monday Jan 22nd 7pm – In Conversation with Novelist André Aciman
Following a screening of director Luca Guadagnino’s awards-season hit, the source novel’s author André Aciman takes stage for a conversation about the process of adapting his tender love story for the screen. Aciman will also be doing a book-signing following the event.
André Aciman is an American essayist and novelist originally from Alexandria, Egypt. He teaches Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of City University of New York. He is the author of Out of Egypt: A Memoir, False Papers, Alibis, and four novels: Enigma Variations, Call Me by Your Name, Eight White Nights, Harvard Square. He is the co author and editor of Letters of Transit and of The Proust Project. Aciman is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as a fellowship from The New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, and he has also appeared in several volumes of Best American Essays.
Tues March 27, 7pm – In Conversation with Director James Ivory
Legendary writer and director James Ivory (Howards End, The Remains of the Day) appears for an extended introduction and audience Q&A, followed by the movie screening.
James Ivory is not English, as is widely believed. He worked closely with producer Ismail Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Jhabvala at Merchant Ivory Productions. Together they were responsible for A Room With a View (86), Mr. & Mrs. Bridge (91), Howards End (93), The Remains of the Day (94), The Golden Bowl (00) and 15 other feature films. In addition, Merchant Ivory produced another eight feature films with other writers. Most recently, Ivory produced and wrote the screenplay for Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name (17), which is based on André Aciman’s novel of the same title.
The movie is playing for an indefinite run, and tickets for all other screenings can be found here.
Watch the Trailer
TIFF Bell Lightbox – 350 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3X5
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment, and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors, and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats. Reach out - firstname.lastname@example.org