Call Me by Your Name
+ Digital HD with Ultraviolet
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Call Me by Your Name- Blu-ray
Call Me by Your Name was shot on 35mm film. Sony's 1080p presentation bears the fruit of the film format, presenting with an accentuating, nicely rendered grain structure through which only a few shots see it increase in intensity or appear snowy. This is an exemplary image in every way. It's very stable, organically defined, and capable of presenting the complex detailing throughout the film with consistently striking ease. Old brick walls and walks, grasses and weeds, general skin textures, and clothing details are consistently rich in complexity. The film's Blu-ray transfer boasts a beautiful color palette, one that is softly vibrant in presentation of natural greens and period attire. Sun-soaked scenes fare , but darker and nighttime shots hold firm with perfect black levels and complimentary, accentuating shadow detail. Skin tones appear intimate and accurate as well. This is a top-flight transfer and an aching reminder of film's textural superiority, even over today's top-end digital productions.
Call Me by Your Name calls out by way of a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The track delivers crisply defined support elements, like a ringing dinner bell, in addition to richly realized atmospherics, including chirping birds, light winds, rolling waves, and welcoming, location-defining din in a cafe near film's start. Add some enjoyable bursts of heightened activity, including dense rain and deep thunder in chapter six, and the track proves capable of handling its every core element with commendable ease and enriching, scene-shaping and mood-enhancing clarity. The track further enjoys wonderful musical reproduction with superb definition and space across the stage, though it's mostly front heavy, leaving the surrounds to handle, more prominently, those aforementioned support elements. Still, musical definition, particularly piano keystrokes, plays fluidly and with impressively realistic detail. Dialogue, mostly English with some scattered, subtitled French and Italian, presents, like everything else, with perfectly prioritized, positioned, and detailed cadence.
It’s the summer of 1983 in Italy, and Elio (Chalamet), a precocious 17-year-old, spends his days in his family’s villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading and flirting with his friend Marzia. One day, Oliver (Hammer), a charming American scholar arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father, an eminent professor. Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.
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"Coming of age" is a label that I'm not particularly a fan of, but it is the most commonly understood label for this genre. I suppose you could call this a "coming of age" film, but, is told from a unique same sex perspective (in the 80s') and the nature of the transition is purely relationship based. Elio, the precocious 17 year old partaking in this journey, is already by most accounts...an adult. He is a highly educated musical prodigy and polyglot, belonging to an educated and privileged family, and has enjoyed all the freedoms and cultured experiences that this kind of life allows. That includes world travels and Summers at his parent's villa in Northern Italy. He is sexually active with his girlfriend, drinks, smokes, reads high brow literature, and transcribes music by ear. But, what he has not experienced, is what to him "matters most". Enter the older, handsome, and intellectual doctoral student, Oliver, to whom Elio is compelled to confess this lack of knowledge. Oliver is discovering his own buried identity, which has been carefully hidden by his overly confident exterior. You get the idea.
The power of "Call me by your name" really lies in its simplicity. For a film with a 2+ hour running time, there is relatively little happening as far as plot advancement goes. A story-line is not non-existent, so much as it is irrelevant. The film is casual and relaxed, it unfolds organically...like Summer itself, and includes all of the sun-kissed eroticism of the season. This is a movie about feelings, not action. It's about moments. This Summer. These people.This place. It is about a look or a touch. The music begins to flutter as Elio hears Oliver's voice in the distance, telling us all we need know. A lot is left unsaid. A lot is left undone. The future is ambiguous.
This is NOT a "gay movie". It is universal in its themes. Humanistic. Anyone, of any gender or orientation, is going to relate and remember their own burning passions of youth. Their first love. That feeling will perhaps run a little deeper with gay audiences, who know all too well the tragedy of such relationships. The overwhelming need for secrecy, at first, and then later the desperate longing to hold onto this new truth and physical/emotional discovery....no matter the cost. When lust transitions to love, you simply stop caring (If you're lucky). The heart wants what it wants. We can experience these feelings again, of course, maybe even stronger... but never again for the first time. That happens just once, along with all the gifts and burdens that go with it. It is just a moment in time, but has very powerful significance in shaping us. That moment is what "Call me by your name" presents so very well, with wonderful acting (Chalamet especially), directing, incredible Oscar nominated original music, and an Oscar winning screenplay set in the gorgeous Italian countryside. Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg) delivers a must-see monologue in the film that (while a bit heavy handed) is an emotional powerhouse about love, aging, and acceptance. It is a masterfully crafted film. Each scene flows effortlessly into the next. I have rarely been so affected by a film, and I really prefer it over the source novel (though they compliment each other very well). It is truly an exceptional viewing experience.
Being deaf, I was still able to capture the films glow. When Elio tucks his hand under his chin as he says goodbye to Oliver or just the glances of desire/fear in Elio’s mannerisms. I didn’t need sound to feel or relate to that. My silent interpretation of the film was an ethereal journey.
I later read the script to fill in the spaces and have since watched the film with subtitles. It’s my favorite film of the year and will forever hold a place in my heart. Bravo to Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Armie Hammer, Amira Casar and Esther Garrel.
Yes, it is a film about first love and coming of age. Yes, it is a gay relationship. Yes, the characters are 17 and 24. But this is not a “sex film” as some think. Instead, this is a film influenced by Proust ( the author of the novel is an expert on the French author) and deals with the themes of time and memory.
No action. No explosions. No great tragedy, just the awakening of longing and desire, and the passing of time.
It really was a great movie. It made me remember what it was like to be that age. What it was like to have that first love. The love that touches you for the rest of your life.