I was pretty enamoured with this film when I saw it. It had everything: passionate romance, shocking heartbreak, Old World opulence, mind-blowingly amazing food, incredible fashion and, of course, the divine Tilda Swinton! The plot follows Emma, the Russian wife of a cold Milanese tycoon. Married into an old money family, Emma transformed from a young Russian girl to a regal Italian matriarch, losing herself in the process. “She’s not suppressed or oppressed in any way, but she’s just not fully alive when you first meet her,” Tilda Swinton told The Refinery. For the role, Swinton not only learnt to speak fluent Italian, but also learnt to speak it with a Russian accent. How’s that for dedication?
Director Luca Guadagnino and Costume designer Antonella Cannarozzi (who is nominated for an Academy Award) worked with both Silvia Venturini Fendi on all the men’s clothes as well as with Raf Simons for Jil Sander who created all the outfits for the character of Emma. In addition to Jil Sander, Emma was also armed with friends named Kelly and Birkin.
At the beginning of the film, before she discovers love with a young talented chef, Emma is clad in neutral. Later on, in the process of rediscovering herself, she opts for fire-y reds and oranges and bright and optimistic blues.
“Raf Simons of Jil Sander and his team were so responsive to our challenge which was to make a responsive wardrobe for an uncommunicative person. The idea of her signaling with a red dress that she might be in the process of falling in love… Color referencing was really fun to play with.” – Tilda Swinton
The famous Villa Necchi Campiglio was used as Emma’s home. Built between 1932 – 1935, it was considered to be one of the first modernist works of Italian architecture. But, being built during the height of Fascism, it also has elements of grandeur and tradition, making it perfect setting for a seemingly modern family holding onto its bourgeoisie traditions. It plays as much of a symbolic part as does Emma’s clothing. The villa has its charms and obvious elegance, but it’s indestructible, bunker-like. It’s no wonder Emma longs for country life.
The film is extremely beautiful. Tilda Swinton is a goddess. If you weren’t convinced of her ethereal beauty, you will be. Nothing in this film is done unintentionally. It is a tight piece of work by Guadagnino. Yes, there are incredibly silly moments, one of them including (fashion icon?) Waris Ahluwalia as an American businessman that leads to some weird dialogue. And there are a lot of insects doing insect-y things. All that said, I loved it.
Anyone seen it?