Io Sono L’amore (I Am Love) is an aesthetic film. Directed by Luca Guadagnino and produced by both Guadagnino and Tilda Swinton (who also leads the cast), this film is blissfully beautiful and meticulously constructed taking every detail into consideration. From fashion to architecture to landscape, music, language, and food, the experience is curated with a particular artistic vision.
Although the story is loose, moody and unsettling, I found the visuals to be uplifting, reveling in the clothing by Jil Sander and Fendi, and the food inspired by the cuisine of Carlo Cracco, owner of the legendary Milan restaurant Cracco Peck. The 1930s mansion Villa Necchi Campiglio, in the heart of Milan, stands in for the family home. Designed by architect Piero Portaluppi, the understated elegance and dark corridors are a perfect setting for a family coming apart at the seams.
The film was created around a pre-existing piece of music, by classical composer John Adams, who is known for rejecting requests to use his work. Swinton and Guadagnino, who developed the project over an 11 year period, held their breath while Adams watched the film and were relieved to receive his permission.
This film is reminiscent of Tom Ford's directorial debut, A Single Man, in that the style almost overrides the story. However, sometimes a feast for the senses brings more emotion than a perfectly constructed narrative.