I Am Love

Year: 2009
Production Co: First Sun
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Producer: Luca Guadagnino
Writer: Luca Guadagnino/Barbara Alberti/Ivan Cotroneo/Walter Fasano
Cast: Tilda Swinton

There's a great performing pedigree in this film in the form of Tilda Swinton, who once again owns the screen as the Russian woman married into the upper crust of Milanese society and now the matriarch of a powerful and wealthy industrial family.

Her husband is loving but distant, her sons and daughter growing up and moving on with their lives and for most of the way through the film she seems happy until she suddenly embarks on an affair with a young man one of her sons is opening a restaurant with. That happens about an hour in.

What happens for the first hour? For me, nothing. The filmmaking technique was solid, the visuals and performance spot on, but the story completely absent. There was no conflict, no problems and no antagonist, giving the characters nothing to do but live uninteresting lives.

I spoke to a colleague afterwards who couldn't stop raving about how brilliant it was. There were (apparently) miles of subtext underneath it all, but try as I might I couldn't see anything besides what was up on the screen, which seemed to be absolutely nothing followed by a mildly interesting narrative premise.

I sat there pleading for something to happen, and when it did I sat there wondering if I'd just been too stupid to see what had been going on.

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