Victoria Jelinek

I Am Love (Io Sono L’Amore)

51VEnx3iQ9L._SY300_Emma Recchi (Tilda Swinton) left Russia to live with her husband in Milan. Despite being a member of a powerful, ancient, industrial Italian family and the esteemed mother of three, she is unfulfilled. Then, a chance meeting with her son’s friend, a talented chef, Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini), revitalizes her.

One gets the sense you are watching a bygone era with the formality of tradition and the grace of luxury that pervades this film, supported by beautiful cinematography that sweeps over the tapestries, stones, tiles, chandeliers, polished tables, and the white gloves of servants. In the style of prior Italian directors, such as Antonioni or Visconti, the visual style is lush and sensual. While the plot is not original, and the movie is arguably melodramatic (one thinks of many stories about a working class ‘stud’ who rekindles passion in an aristocratic malcontent, namely D.H. Lawrence), the visual display and Tilda Swinton’s acting make this film fresh and authentic. From the opening scenes in which her face is controlled while she manages a grand family party, to the climax of the film in which it is in ruins, your gaze is absolutely fixed on her alabaster face. Long after its conclusion, her expressive face and its subtle reactions to the events and circumstances of the story, haunted me.

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