Art & Entertainment

Luca Guadagnino: I’m Doing A Filmography Of Desire

It would be a mistake for a filmmaker to thematise his work, says Luca Guadagnino, who has often dealt with themes of desire in his cinema, including the Oscar-winning movie "Call Me By Your Name".

Luca Guadagnino
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It would be a mistake for a filmmaker to thematise his work, says Luca Guadagnino, who has often dealt with themes of desire in his cinema, including the Oscar-winning movie "Call Me By Your Name".

Desire, according to the Italy-born filmmaker, is a form of understanding the person "you have in front of you" but it is never so calculated.

"I don't think a filmmaker can really thematise his own work. I think it's a big mistake... It's more about what you've been going through in time and maybe you come to a place where you probably unconsciously realise that you are talking about things that have touched you," Guadagnino told PTI in an interview on the sidelines of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival here.

"(But) I think every movie that I make deals with desire. I'm doing a filmography of desire," he said while talking about his self-described "desire" trilogy that started with 2009's Tilda Swinton-starrer "I Am Love", about an industrialist's wife's affair with a chef.

The second film was "A Bigger Splash" (2015), starring Ralph Fiennes, Swinton and Dakota Johnson. The movie revolved around a famous rock singer on a holiday with her filmmaker lover.

"Call Me By Your Name", the Oscar-winning adaptation of author Andre Aciman's novel and the most celebrated film of Guadagnino's career, was the final film in the trilogy.

It made a star out of Timothee Chalamet, who played a young Italian-French boy named Elio, who ends up having a summer romance with an American man, Oliver (Armie Hammer) in the 1983 Italy-set story.

While desire may crop up in his filmography subconsciously, Guadagnino said consciously, he always tries to make a film "that sounds good, looks good, and is acted well".

At the ongoing film festival, the 52-year-old director was feted with the Excellence in Cinema Award for his outstanding contribution to the world of cinema.

Asked about the enduring popularity of his movies, Guadagnino said though he doesn't keep a track of how his films are received, he feels proud that his work has amassed a fan following.

"I have learned that there is an actual moment of the release of the movie, but there is also the time through which movies become (what they are). A movie can come back, like a movie cannot be a success and then come back, be a super success and be forgotten.

"There are so many ways in which you can achieve a movie, as a spectator, through cinema (hall), streaming, Blu-ray, downloading them, festivals, but there will always be this curiosity about films from audiences to rediscover them. So, if I made a film many years ago and it is still somehow sought after, I'm very happy, it makes me very proud," he said.

As a "lover of cinema", Guadagnino said he never views movies through the prism of where they come from.

"I like to return to movies that I love. I like to discover new things. I'm quite open. I don't define movies by nationality... Times are always changing, Bob Dylan once said it.

"It's not about changing times that in a way make me feel or think about cinema. It's my love for it. I was born a cinephile and I will die a cinephile. That's going to be unwavering and never interrupted," he added.

Guadagnino revealed that filmmaker Anurag Kashyap is a "dear friend" and he is looking forward to watching the director's latest movie "Kennedy".

"I love his work very much. I'm curious to see his last movie, which was in Cannes... I met him at the Venice Film Festival in 2009. I was in the main jury, and I was presenting 'I Am Love'. We are of the same age, and so we became friends," he said.

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