Friday, July 16, 2010

I Am Love (Rhoades)

“I Am Love” Offers Sumptuous Drama

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Composer John Adams won the Pulitzer Prize for Music, the award based on his “On the Transmigration of Souls,” a choral piece commemorating victims of 9/11. Among his better-known works are the operas “Nixon in China” and “Dr. Atomic,” works chronicling such mundane subjects as a president’s visit to Asia and a scientist’s contribution to the Manhattan Project.

Adams is an elusive musician, never allowing his compositions to be used in movies.
Until now.

The Italian film “I Am Love” (or “Io sono l’amore”) features John Adams’ music. “We knew that what we really wanted was a score by John Adams, but we knew that was extremely unlikely because he had never allowed his music to be used in a film before,” says one of the film’s producers.

Directed by Luca Guadagnino, this sweeping drama of forbidden love is currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.

Academy Award-winner Tilda Swinton (“Michael Clayton,” “The Chronicles of Narnia”) stars as the Russian-born wife of an Italian textile manufacturer. The patriarch of the wealthy Recchi family has passed the business to her husband (Pippo Delbono) and son (Flavio Parenti). And at the dinner party where the announcement is made she meets her son’s friend Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini), a handsome young chef.

This sets in motion events that will impact the Recchi dynasty with tragic consequence.
Emma (Swinton) describes her opulent home as “Something part palace, part prison, part museum.” The camera drifts through the corridors, lingers over the chandeliers and tapestries, ultimately probing the passions hidden just beneath the surface of the regal Emma.

This is a sensual film – visually, audibly, and thematically. And Tilda Swinton’s nuanced performance convinces you that her Oscar was no fluke. But food hasn’t appeared so erotic in a movie since “Tom Jones.”
John Adams’s operatic score generates a sense of underlying tension. “I like music that is a character in a movie,” says Luca Guadagnino. “I don’t like to be Mickey Moused by the music in the movie, or to be told by the music what to feel.”
[from Solares Hill]

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