Paul Malikkal


Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Paul Malikkal

Call Me By Your Name is being caught in the black hole of time’s inexorable passage. Guadagnino's camera fixates on objects, surroundings, and works of art as they float in and out of the film. Lingering shots of books, trees, windows, and statues close fleeting scenes that end before they even start. The whole thing has a slippery feeling, as though Elio longs to “remember everything” as his old friend does-- clinging to every peripheral detail in sight as each one slips through his fingers. He’s resisting time’s passage both in the moment, as he hears the clock ticking, and retroactively, as time leeches the vividness from his memories of Oliver. On both fronts, he ostensibly fails. Perhaps he never should’ve spoken, as the ticking clock inevitably drowns out his words. For a moment this conclusion rings painfully true. But the film knows better. “To feel nothing so as not to feel anything - what a waste,” warns Elio’s father. In Call Me By Your Name, choosing cowardice over courage isn’t the greatest mistake we make in love. The more regrettable choice is beating time to the punch, by drowning the words out yourself. It’s blotting out our memories by choice to “be cured of things faster than we should [be].” Oliver slips from Elio’s arms as his train departs from the station and the narrative’s many ellipses suggest he’s slipping from his memory too. And yet the pair savor every second of their last moments together, traipsing about the moonlit streets of Bergamo. And Elio returns to those languorous summer afternoons to watch himself and Oliver bike across the countryside. Unhurried, he watches them disappear from view; the memory is no less rich.

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