Anyone who is tapped in on the world of film will undoubtedly have heard of the incredible critical acclaim that Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name” has received since its debut at Sundance this January and throughout the year at various other film festivals.
What may not be as well known is the men behind the soundtrack, though if you really paid attention it would be hard not to distinguish the characteristic voice of Sufjan Stevens. Stevens does create the entire soundtrack alone, however. Alongside Stevens is the incredible Yellow Magic Orchestra alum Sakamoto Ryuichi, who has had much more experience with scoring films with his name appearing under such titles as “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence” and even 2015’s “The Revenant.”
Almost nine months after its initial screening, “Call Me By Your Name” will be hitting screens late November, and it will be an amazing opportunity to see both Stevens and Sakamoto at work.
“Call Me By Your Name” describes itself as a “sensual and transcendent tale of first love.” The movie itself is based on the critically acclaimed novel André Aciman, in which an American-Italian falls in love with an American student who comes to live with them in the summer of 1983. The movie explores the relationship between the two, making note to not fall into any clichés associated with romance films. In the words of the director himself, “In the gay canon, it will triumph or be bittersweet, or it will not triumph.”
Check out what Guadagnino had to say about working with Stevens. “I personally dislike the idea of voiceover of your main character telling the story retrospectively. Maybe because in a way it kills the surprise. I like in cinema when you have an ominous narrator. It’s something that fascinates me a lot, and in fact, I wanted that here. In a way the narrator became Sufjan Stevens with his new songs, made contemporary, about our story, which is back. The only direction I gave Sufjan was to ask him to do it – it’s Sufjan Stevens [laughs]. We wanted a sort of narrator that could make justice of the book, of the film, drawn from the narrative of Elio. We wanted something that wasn’t as close to us in first person. I felt Sufjan’s lyricism, both in the voice and the lyrics itself, had some beautiful elusiveness on one hand, on the other hand poignancy that were really resonate. In fact, when I approached him, and he’s a very reserved person as an artist. So it was quite a challenge to see if he wanted to play with us. And eventually when he did say yes, his tools were the script, the book, our conversation about the characters and I would say his own source of inspirations. I wanted one song and he gave us two: “Visions of Gideon,” which is the one that closes the movie, and “Mystery of Love.” There was this “Futile Devices” that he sung, from the album Chicago, I think. (It’s from The Age of Adz). We asked him to remake it with piano to be close to Elio.”
Photo Credit: Sharon Alagna