The grand architecture of Milan and the icy rhythms of composer John Adams set the tone for this elegant Italian drama (2010) about the suffocating power of family, wealth, and tradition. Tilda Swinton stars as a Russian immigrant, long married into a filthy-rich clan of Milanese industrialists, who has surrendered not only her cultural but her personal identity. (Asked for her Russian name, she replies, “I no longer know it.”) Pictorial studies of the family’s beautifully ornate mansion eventually give way to simpler images of earth and sky as the repressed woman ventures into the mountains for a steamy, emotionally liberating affair with her grown son’s best friend. The film has been compared to those of Luchino Visconti, which makes sense, though Visconti’s socialist subtext has been replaced here by more contemporary gender concerns. Luca Guadagnino directed; with Marisa Berenson. In Italian with subtitles.
I Am Love
R • 1 hour 59 min • 2010