Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Call Me by Your Name (2017) fills the screen with a multitude of textural and social elements to convey the story of a brief affair between two men, Elio and Oliver, set in 1983 Italy.  Art, sculptures, music, landscapes, architecture, natural sounds, fruit, meals, smoking, shimmering lakes, hikes and bicycle rides comment sometimes overtly (love songs, statues of unclothed humanity) and sometimes subtly (sensual water elements) on what is connecting Elio and Oliver. The first half of Call Me by Your Name consists of this very unhurried exposition of elements with little plot development inducing a state of peacefulness, like a relaxed vacation.

The central story eventually builds and due to the simplicity, its effectiveness depends mostly on both the handling of Elio and Oliver’s growing attraction and of their foretold separation.  Elio and Oliver’s increasing interest is a slow burn, somewhat coy and motivated mainly by desire and youthful lust.  The sum total of these developments are not overly emotional or stirring, but do render an honest and tender depiction of how people come together.  The actual sex is frank, brief, but not graphic nor titillating.  The real achievement here is the nearly tangible force that draws Elio and Oliver together, as if the statue retrieved from the sea is harkening back to more open societies working along with all the other elements to purposely will and sanction their passion.

More affecting than the romantic developments is the conclusion of their affair, which ends circumstantially – no harm is intended (if only intentions could avoid devastating the human heart).  Immediately after Oliver’s departure three scenes effectively depict Elio’s distraught state – the call to mom, a father’s outpouring of empathy and love, and tears from a heart that a hearth cannot warm.  To Oliver’s great credit a phone call just prior to this sad final image reveals the depth of impact their time together meant.  It’s a purposeful acknowledgement to affirm that one of life’s rare and most intense gifts does outweigh, in time, the sadness of loss.

Overall Rating:  B
What could have made it an A:  30 minutes shorter and more compelling romantic elements.

Happy People: A Year In The Tiaga (2010)

The documentary looks at a remote area of inhabitants that mostly live off the land in Northern Russia Siberia along the River Yenisel. Dogs are a huge part of this film presented in a most natural habitat. The best part is learning how to train a dog to not get the bait in a trap. It should be compared to how people train their kids, or don’t train them.

Happy People: A Year In The Tiaga

 Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010) on IMDb 

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I bought this film for a dollar on DVD. It gets about a 5 rating on IMDB.

 Strangerland (2015) on IMDb

It has beautiful visuals, very well done camera work, rocking camera motion only when totally worked not overdone and not like the mother of shaky cam syndrome movies that started all that nonsense “Blair Witch Project”.

Camera is perfectly still when appropriate.

Superb direction.

Acting a little sloppy at times though, seemed at times like they were pretending, though not too much of an issue. Other times awesome!

I liked this movie. Very engaging. It’s rare that I want to just sit there and keep paying attention. I can be a talker in a movie and this one made me shut up!

Everything flowed step by step unlike many other films that have chops in it and things that make no sense.

I liked Nicole Kidman in this and Joseph Fiennes is pretty hot with facial hair.

AMFM magazine says “A perfectly crafted film”. That explained my thoughts superbly.

The movie is too slow for some though, so that is why it gets a lower rating i think.

This brings me back to how movie ratings suck. They just are too simplistic. They are like how it would be to rate Russia, which Palin can see from her house of imagination, who would probably rate it a 1 or zero, because she has blocked tunnel vision, yet someone else, when they go there and are invited to go see a play at the Moscow Art Theatre which opened with Aleksey Tolstoy’s Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich in October 1898, sitting there with Putin, a few other world leaders, with a good friend, and discussing the world and Russian culture and how lame Hillary is for hours afterwards, with Putin ROTF in laughter saying how much he enjoyed our visit and how I cracked him up, before going back to Los Angeles to my humble life to write about how this movie deserves almost a 10 like rating and how my experience of seeing Russia would also get close to a 10.