Most great films started as great novels. 'Call Me By Your Name' by André Aciman is no exception. If a fear of crying in public has kept you from seeing the film in the cinema, don’t worry because you can read the tear jerking novel in the comfort of your own home.
"Cinema can be an entirely magical medium. What I do as a writer, and what Guadagnino does as a film director, is more than speak two different languages. What I do is chisel a statue down to its finest, most elusive details. What a film director does is make the statue move"
(André Aciman in Vanity Fair 2018).
Aciman's beautiful novel, Call Me By Your Name, adapted by Luca Guadagnino’s to film, sparked rave reviews this year and subsequent wins of a string of awards. I watched Call Me By Your Name one Thursday evening with no knowledge of what was about to unfold on the screen before me. After the credits rolled I walked home alone on that warm Spring night, buoyed by the heady images of an Italian summer: arts and lust and swimming and peaches and dancing…. As I got home I obsessively researched the characters, the producer, the behind the scenes images, THAT Sufjan’s song that stayed with me long, long after I walked out of the movie theatre. I was looked for anything that could continue to feed my thirst for more knowledge of this beautiful story. My obsessive research stopped when I landed on the information that Armie Hammer, who plays the character of Oliver in the film, had costume shorts which were so short his balls had to be edited out of the film in post-production. At this point I thought it was time to stop my obsessive quest for useless information and read the book to get a more insightful view on the story.
Scene from the film 'Call Me By Your Name'
After reading the book I now don’t know which I prefer. I loved both. The book goes beyond the film, beyond that one summer and beyond a life not full of beautiful characters dressed in cool 80’s fashions, strolling around a quaint town bathed in the golden Italian sun.
Originally published in 2007, the touching coming-of-age story follows the gay romance of 17-year-old Elio and his family's summer guest, the older professor Oliver, at his parents' cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each pretends to not be interested. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, relentless buried feelings of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the spark between them. What grows between them is a romance and friendship of just six weeks, and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover that summer is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: true love.
This story is a frank and touching portrayal of attraction, passion, and true love, and should be on everyone's reading list, whether they've seen the story played out on screen or not. A highly recommended read!