|Call Me By Your Name
Oliver leaves Elio.
I was late to all of the Oscar nominated or buzzed about films this year and have been catching up. It was, in my estimation, a good year for movies. This one, "Call Me By Your Name," devastated me and brought to surface memories that when called are as fragile and raw as it appears to be for Elio here in this frame from the movie as he clutches at his throat because, obviously, his heart has moved there and no words are expressed as Oliver climbs on to the train to leave Italy. Leaving him behind.
When I first saw the movie, I was distracted. I saw the novel that the film was based on in the store and picked it up. It wrapped around me and made me feel like I was writhing in deep, warm, sea water- drowning, but quite alive at the same time. The novel moves beyond the film in time, so I read the ending twice. In the same day. And as soon as I had the chance, I watched the movie, alone, for a second time and am left wondering how many times it will take to the point that I can't watch it anymore.
Sometimes, movies, small, quiet ones, capture me and hold on through several viewings until I am able to walk away from them. When I first saw Parker Posey's "Broken English," I watched it on three successive evenings. One, I love Parker Posey. Two, a Frenchman was involved. And three, a trip to Paris ensued. The quiet of the film allowed for the character, Nora, to explore the general malaise that she felt and the disappointment in not fulfilling what she thought was to be her life by the deadline that many of us impose upon ourselves. Nora's inner dialogue that runs through the movie could be what goes through mine on any given day. Nora figures it out. And lucky for her that the figuring had something to do with a Frenchman and Paris. If only!
Another small, quiet movie that I got caught up in recently was "Sophie and the Rising Sun," which was set in a beautifully filmed South Carolina circa 1941. Sophie is adrift, without family or opportunity, and crabs to make ends meet. She is an artist and paints the gardens that are prolific in her small town. A Japanese-American man comes to town under mysterious circumstances, and Sophie is drawn to him. Theirs is a bittersweet story- two vagabonds who do not fit into the lives that have been given to them. Fortunately, the sun rises and they find each other. The cinematography is stunning. And their quiet passion is heartening. I watched it three nights in a row.
And now for Oliver and Elio. I know this scene at the train station- leaving, separating, not knowing if or even when they'll ever physically be in the same place, understanding that emotionally, they'll never part. Their youth and the overwhelming surprise that love could take over every cell in one's body makes for the perfect storm of joy, grief, and wonder. It reminds me of the boy I loved, love, who would take me to the airport after heady days of wandering around his city, each other, in quiet and not so sure how to be together. On leaving, he would buy me magazines and gum, stick a twenty in my pocket, and my heart would swell one hundred times its size, catching in my throat blocking words. I wonder about the people who would sit next to me on the plane and how they felt about having this huge, blubbering heart sitting in such close proximity. Of course, this may be why this film resonates with so many. Who hasn't had their heart swell so large that words could not express its feelings. Oh, Elio. And Oliver ... I'll certainly watch this film again ... and again.