Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Am Love Sour Grapes

Have you seen I Am Love yet? The Globe nominee is available for rental so get on that.

Director Luca Guadagnino with Marisa Berenson & Tilda Swinton
I read the following quote over at Hollywood Reporter and I found it both amusing, right-on and the kind of thing you shouldn't say out loud. Seems Luca Guadagnino, the man behind the brilliant Globe & BFCA nominated I Am Love is not happy with the treatment of his film back home in Italy. They chose another film for their entry in the annual Oscar Foreign Film race.

He says...
Italy has been a sort of strangely cruel mother to the film. I feel like Rapunzel in Tangled. They didn’t pick the film for the Oscars. I don’t think the movie is the kind that sells in Italy now, which is basically dramedies about men that are not able to grow up. Vitteloni syndrome without Fellini. This [Golden] Globe nomination is a sort of really strong warning for the Italian culture. Beware! When you don’t support what’s good ... then the image of your country goes down and down and down. They chose another movie, instead of one that was internationally well received, particularly in the U.S. But it’s all right. Right now the moment is cheer, and I’m very cheerful. It’s a great day!
Points for honesty but obviously someone's feelings got hurt along the way.

<--- Micaela Ramazzotti and Sergio Albelli, the super sexy but unstable parental figures in La Prima Cosa Bella.

For what it's worth, I recently spent time with the actual Italian Oscar submission La Prima Cosa Bella (The First Beautiful Thing) and it was good. It's a somewhat absorbing memoir story (half of it being in flashbacks) about the grown children of a dying but still ridiculously vibrant woman (Micaela Ramazzotti in youth / Stefani Sandrelli in old age) who was once a wild flighty gorgeous young thing dragging her wee children from home to home and sometimes to homelessness while falling in and out of love with their father (and other men).

You can trace the damage done in the generally strong performances and the film definitely gathers some cumulative emotional steam (the climactic act is entertaining, funny and unexpectedly endearing), but it's stretched a little thinly across numerous life episodes. And even though you "get" him, you do wish the sour grown man at its center would grow up a little bit.  B


I enjoyed it. But no, it's not a patch on I Am Love. Since Luca brought up Tangled, let's get our hair did in Italy.

The First Beautiful Thing has follicular drama of all varieties from deliciously lustrous (Micaela Ramazotti) to balding to sickbed wigs to plainly pretty to unruly to generic ... the hair, like the movie, has plentiful ups and downs.

I Am Love, on the other hand has magic locks just like Rapunzel's. Everyone's hair is epically beautiful; their golden, red, brown and pure white crowns (even the oldest characters have thick headfulls) are enough to make your arm hairs stand on end.


If there were an Oscar for hairstyling...

15 comments:

Andreas said...

Sad about the snubbing, and so true about the hair. I was spending some time with I Am Love yesterday, glancing through my favorite parts, and the hair is one of the movie's most important textures.

Of course there's the thematic significance in Betta's haircut, but also during the outdoors sex scenes - Antonio and Emma's hair (and the contrast between them) just adds one more layer of beauty to the movie.

amiratthemovies said...

Swinton's performance on I Am Love is one of the year's best. Really hope this one won't get ignore like last year's Julia.

adam k. said...

Shame about the oscars, cause this film may well have won. Still a strong contender for my favorite film of the year, Social Network be damned. Hope it wins the globe. I'm still sad about Tilda getting no traction, too.

This film along with Black Swan is a really good example of why a best adapted/song score category could be really relevant. They wouldn't need to have 5 nominees or anything. But every year, there's an atypical score, or something from a musical, etc. that really deserves recognition even though it doesn't fit entirely into the "original" framework. They're often better than the original scores, actually (particularly this year). I've become deeply obsessed with both the I Am Love and Black Swan soundtracks...

adelutza said...

I Am Love is on my top 5 of the year's best and not sure it won't be the best when all it's said and done. Still have to see Black Swan and The Fighter but I Am Love is the only film I have seen twice this year on the big screen.

mrripley said...

I know she only has 10 minutes screen time in the film but from her first appearence till "that look" at the end i simply cannot forget marisa bereson.

tay said...

I actually prefer La prima cosa bella. It has heart and soul, where Io sono l'amore just left me cold. It's a gorgeous film aesthetically speaking, and Tilda Swinton deserves the praise she's getting (though as far as I'm concerned, no one can hold a candle to Natalie Portman this year; if she doesn't win Best Actress, it will be a travesty), but the film is overly long and doesn't amount to anything substantial, anything worth revisiting. Anyway, I just wanted to say that there are least a few of us who think the Italians made the right choice with The First Beautiful Thing, and I certainly don't think they are doing anything wrong by their country's image with the selection.

john said...

You should check out the extras on the I Am Love DVD, Tilda's and Marisa's hair are constantly in curlers even in between shooting scenes, so no wonder their manes looked ravishing!

Andrew R. said...

I did see I am Love a few days ago.

You overrated it big time. It's like last year's Julia-a decent film that gets a boost from Tilda Swinton in a very good performance.

(You also overrated The Fighter outisde of Leo, Adams, and Bale, but that's a separate subject.)

Malcolm said...

Tilda just gave one of the year's best performances. Though I have only seen a very few movies this year yet, I am sure that Swinton will stand firm as one of he best performances this year.

Stefano said...

So true. They get completely wrong in choosing "The First Beautiful Thing" as the Italian submission, I didn't particurally like the film (it was good, but in neither way an excellent one), but it's the typical nowadays Italian dramedy people like. It's been a good hit here in Italy, while "I Am Love" didn't receive any attention from the audience (saldy). "I Am Love" is surely a better film and, first of all, has been recognized by an American audience; "The First Beautiful Thing", in my opinion, doesn't stand a chance for Best Foreign Film and is much less complex and sofisticated. "I Am Love" would have taken a nomination for sure, too bad Italy will be snubbed again because of bad choices from our Film Academy...

NATHANIEL R said...

stefano -- well, it's not like Italy has hurt for Oscar nominations over the years. y'all can sit one out ;)

adam -- agreed about the scores.

adelutza -- i saw it on the big screen twice too (and i normally only see second times once i get a dvd)

tay -- thanks for the note. It's good to hear all sides.

john said...

What I can not understand is the fact that to be viable at the oscars your film must have had the LA one week qualifying run. Why then, is it a different rule for the foreign film category? I Am Love actually opened this year, and was obviously shown at LA. But instead they allow countries to select films which have not been shown in the US, (and elesewhere) and may be shown in the US if it has the good fortune of being nominated. It's flawed. But we all knew that anyway.

NATHANIEL R said...

i think a better system might be a combination of both releases and submissions. i.e. one submission per country PLUS any film which managed a theatrical release which would normally make it eligible. But that woudl come with its own problems. i.e. you'd have to find a way to screen hundreds more movies for voters rather than just 65. And you'd probably end up with more of what i believe they've always feared with France hogging the nominations each year :)

Mirko said...

The saddest thing regarding I AM LOVE and its misfortunes here in Italy it's that Guadagnino's film is clearly inspired by some great italian directors (Visconti for example) who are considered old fashioned and uninteresting these days, but actually this kind of films is more noteworthy than the popular ones

I wonder if I AM LOVE could be considered by the Academy in the other categories: I know it's eligible but so far the precursor awards are nominating it almost just as Best Foreign Language Picture...

Glenn said...

Nathaniel, that's exactly what I wrote about way back in January.

If I was able to vote in every category of the Oscars I'd place I Am Love very highly on the list for Best Actress, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design and Best Make-Up. True.