The filmmaker, whose hotly anticipated romance Call Me By Your Name screens today at London Film Festival, discusses his adoration of Jonathan Demme
“I saw Beloved in London when it was released, I think it was in 1998, and it was a movie that I was very much anticipating as it was made by Jonathan Demme, a director who I was in love with and still am. The combination of Demme’s sensitivity, his interests, and the novel by Toni Morrison with its incredible pedigree, was really striking. There are so many great parts, like the beginning with the flying dog, or the beautiful discovery of what Sethe has on her back. It’s a very confrontational film, an untamed film; it’s very explicit, and very, very disturbing. It was a movie that had an unlucky destiny: It came and went in the blink of an eye, and later, other films about the tragedy of enslavement in North America would get more praise. But none of these could even remotely compare to the achievement and harrowing depths of this film.”
Italian writer-director Luca Guadagnino was so enamoured with Jonathan Demme’s work that his university thesis was about the American director’s filmography up to 1993. He finished it just before Demme announced he would make a film of Toni Morrison’s peerless novel about a former slave haunted by her traumatic past. “I have to complete my work on him, with Beloved included,” the I Am Love director says. Like the late Demme, Guadagnino is master of his filmic universe, deftly playing with different genres and tones: autumn sees the release of his acclaimed romance, Call Me By Your Name, and his all-star remake of the 70s horror classic, Suspiria, is out next year.
Hair: Massimo Gamba at Atomo Management. Make-up: Mary Cesardi at Atomo Management. Photographic assistant: Wilbert Lati. Styling assistants: Rebecca Perlmutar, Adri Lacaita and Sunnie Fraser.
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