"I've heard people throw up during my film.  I am delighted

“I’ve heard people throw up during my film. I am delighted

For the past two years, Luca Guadagnino has presented the coming-of-age drama We Are Who We Are for HBO; a music video for Sufjan Stevens; the short smartphone-shot lockdown film Fiori, Fiori, Fiori; a commercial for Lux shoe store Ferragamo; and a feature-length documentary, Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams. When the Italian’s romantic cannibal film, Bones and All, premiered at the Venice Film Festival, he had already wrapped up work on Challengers, a tennis rom-com starring Zendaya and Josh O’Connor, due out in August 2023. Next is an Audrey Hepburn biopic starring Rooney Mara.

And then there’s his job. In 2017 he founded Studio Luca Guadagnino, the interior design studio.

When exactly does he sleep?

“I sleep five hours a night, but I should get to seven,” he smiles. “I’m a workaholic. I should change my attitude to get some rest. To be honest, I have a really hard time laying down because the people I work with are a great team of people. They know I work a lot and they let me keep working because they work too.”

As a young boy in Palermo, he asked his mother to buy him a Super 8 camera so he could dip a piece of cow meat in a glass of water and film its decomposition. The shooting was canceled because of the disgusting smell

He’s not exaggerating. Guadagnino is all about the collective experience. He recently ‘bridged’ his two jobs by hiring Stefano Baisi, a fellow architect, as a production designer. The director has repeatedly collaborated with actors Walter Fasano, Marco Morabito, Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson. Cinematographers Sayombhu Mukdeeprom and Yorick Le Saux have each made three films for the filmmaker; Bones and All brings back Guadagnino veterans Michael Stuhlbarg, Jessica Harper and Chloë Sevigny.

He dreamily recalls a backstage tour of an opera house in Buenos Aires, an experience he likens to one of his favorite films, The Red Shoes.

“Every time I go to the theater – especially when I go backstage – if the theater director is kind enough to show me backstage, I have a very nice moment,” says Guadagnino. “Because I love that sense of community and craftsmanship and that everyone is working towards the same goal at the same time. So I love the idea of ​​building a community of artists collaborating in that theatrical sense.”

Bones and All also reunites the director with Timothée Chalamet, an actor who was catapulted to stardom after starring in Guadagnino’s heated love story Call Me By Your Name in 2017. The 26-year-old actor was subsequently nominated for two Oscars and has attracted an army of chalamaniacs. Thousands of them camped out on the Lido ahead of the premiere of Bones and All.

“Incredible Talent”

“Every actor plays with the luggage of his life experiences and his understanding of human nature,” says the filmmaker. “The older they get, the more they grow and the more they hone their talent, which in the case of Timothée Chalamet was already immense. I can tell you that from boy to young man he can bring ever more thoughtfulness to the way he can understand human nature.”

Bones and All is an adaptation of a YA novel by Camille DeAngelis. The film begins in the 1980s with edgy, old-fashioned teenager Maren (Waves’ Taylor Russell) sneaking into a sleepover without her eagerly overprotective father noticing. A shocking scene later, her father’s worries are fully justified: Maren has a craving for human flesh, an appetite that sends her on a road trip in search of her long-lost mother.

Along the way, she meets the anthropophagous Sully (Mark Rylance, who channels Night of the Hunter to chilling effect) and falls in love with Lee (Chalamet). It’s puppy love but with bloody and crunching sounds. At least one visitor to the premiere in Venice required medical attention. It’s a long-cherished goal for the director who remade Dario Argento’s Suspiria in 2017 and who, as a young boy in Palermo, asked his mother to buy him a Super 8 camera so he could dip a piece of cow meat in a glass of water and Film its decomposition over time. The shooting was canceled because of the disgusting smell.

“I’ve heard of people fainting and some throwing up, some screaming,” says Guadagnino. “Of course I’m happy in a way, because if a film, if any film, has moved someone to that extent, then the film somehow has something to say or touched a nerve. But at the same time, I hope the element comes from the discomfort of dealing with the depth of what these characters are going through, rather than the shock value of it.”

“I couldn’t identify with them and couldn’t understand them in terms of cannibalism. The goal is to find a way to use the literal word for a metaphor.

Here’s a confusing phrase: Cannibalism is having a moment. Last July, Soylent Green began trending on social media platforms after The New York Times published an article titled A Taste for Cannibalism? published, citing such popular human food works as Raw, Fresh, Santa Clarita Diet, and Yellowjackets. Luckily, Guadagnino was more interested in the metaphorical aspects of the taboo diet plan.

“I was more interested in the actual inevitability of their nature than the actual nature,” says Guadagnino. “I was interested in something they can’t control and won’t control. When I started the script, I said to myself, I think you can tell the story of these characters because I understand their sense of loneliness. I couldn’t identify with them and couldn’t understand them in terms of cannibalism. The goal is to find a way to use the literal word for a metaphor, but without ruining the film with the thematic and metaphorical aspects of it becoming too intellectual.”

Bones and All is the filmmaker’s first project to be set and filmed in the United States. It falls into the most American of genres, the road movie, with locations in Chillicothe, Ohio and Cincinnati. In preparation, he studied the portraits of the Deep South by photographer William Eggleston in the 1960s.

“Codes of Cinema”

“Eggleston was my guideline,” he says. “He was a great American artist and he was of paramount importance to me in my DP [director of photography] and for my production designer. The beautiful, personal subjectivity he brings to the way you see America from a perspective that wasn’t the main perspective. I love cinema codes. And the road movie is kind of the DNA of what cinema means in America. Even the westerns are road movies, right?

“I try to do the film sequentially. We place ourselves in the center of the Tri-State in Cincinnati. And then, from there, he moved from Ohio to Kentucky. Indiana, Maryland all the way to Nebraska to find places that were perfect for the time and capitalize on them.”

At first glance, Bones and All and Guadignino’s latest work appears more youthful than the adult drama A Bigger Splash. But something like childhood love also dominates his adult-oriented films. The romance between the characters of Russell and Chalamet is no less feverish than watching Tilda Swinton on screen, against her better judgment, captures being with her younger lover in I Am Love.

“Before I did this, I broke up with my 11-year-old partner and was desperate,” says Guadagnino. “Someone said I understand you. I understand your films. You are such a romantic person. What is interesting, however, is that being a romantic person is not per se a positive value. It can be a curse.”

“Cinema knows no geography, no borders. Check out Billy Wilder, one of Hollywood’s greatest directors. How high was his sensitivity? German? European? American?’

Guadagnino was born in 1971 to a Sicilian father and an Algerian mother. He spent his early childhood in Ethiopia, where his father taught Italian literature. The family returned to Palermo after the civil war broke out.

“I like to think that I’m a citizen of the world, like Truman Capote said,” says the filmmaker. “Cinema knows no geography, no borders. Check out Billy Wilder, one of Hollywood’s greatest directors. How high was his sensitivity? German? European? American? The cinema I love is transactional, without nationality.”

The director’s first feature film, The Protagonists, established an ongoing collaboration with Tilda Swinton and premiered in Venice, the same festival where he recently won the Silver Lion for Bones and All. He’s still on a learning curve, he says, but it’s easier than it was in the early days of his career.

“I think my first film was definitely difficult,” he recalls. “I’ve learned that it’s not important to know exactly what you want because then you can’t accept what other people bring to the table. And my second film Melissa P was shot with a studio, a local production by Sony in Europe. And I had the bitter lesson that the film was taken from me. I’ve learned to avoid that. I don’t allow anyone else to take control of my projects.”

Bones and All opens on Wednesday November 23rd

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