Luca feels like a smooth, settled-down fellow — cool, smart, knowledgable — with not just a fevered knowledge of the film realm (in college he wrote a huge essay about Jonathan Demme) but with the whole equation in his head. Or so it seemed as we spoke. To me he’s suddenly one of the most exciting directors working today. He doesn’t shoot scripts — he starts with scripts in order to make impressionistic films about himself, but he also makes sure that viewers are entertained and aroused every step of the way.
Luca Guadagnino, esteemed director of A Bigger Splash (Fox Searchlight, 5.3) at last September’s Venice Film Festival.
Guadagnino and cast of A Bigger Splash (Matthis Schoenaerts, Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Corrado Guzzanti, Ralph Fiennes).
Set on Pantelleria, an island off the coast of Sicily, A Bigger Splash is a kind of four-person demimonde piece. It has a plot or at least a situation about lingering vibes and who might be fucking who, etc. It’s technically a remake of Jacques Deray‘s La Piscine (’69), but it’s mainly about Guadagnino — his attitudes, tastes, moods, loves, memories.
In my view it’s first and foremost a sensual film about…well, living well. About vinyl sounds, dips in the pool, good wine and outdoor eating…about anything and everything that’s sublime or succulent or which smells or tastes or sounds good. It’s about sex, music (particularly early ’80s Rolling Stones), dry winds, infidelity, ricotta cheese and — last but not least — reliving and killing the past.
When I tried expressing this view of the film, particularly the part about how A Bigger Splash isn’t about La Piscine as much as Gudadagnino himself, he said “I completely endorse what you’ve said…totally…what you’ve said is extremely precise.”
Guadagnino announced last September that his next film will be a remake of Dario Argento‘s Suspiria. It will costar Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson, who are also paired in Splash. Guadagnino will shoot it in Germany starting in September, he said. It’s going to be less of a literal remake of Argento’s original than “a reflection on my feelings when I [first] saw it,” he said, as well as a piece about motherhood with a side influence of Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Guadagnino should make films in this country. His attitude stylings would make a good fit, a perfect marriage. As long as nobody fucks with him, I mean.