120 minutes| Italy| 2009| Subtitled| Colour| Dolby Digital Stereo| 35mm Notes by Trevor Johnston

This film was released 9th April 2010 and is no longer screening.

Connoisseurs of heady melodrama should flock to this sumptuous Milanese saga, which casts the ever-wonderful Tilda Swinton as the Russian wife feeling increasingly trapped within the repressive opulence of a super-wealthy Italian textiles dynasty.

Director Luca Guadagnino pores over every last detail of the luxurious surroundings, from exquisite designer interiors to drool-worthy cuisine, but the intention is to heighten the drama of a woman’s self-discovery via a torrid affair with a hunky younger chef who’s in business with her son. It’s Visconti meets Douglas Sirk, in other words, though even that description hardly does the film justice, what with Tilda equally convincing as imperious grande dame or down-home hausfrau, the operatic interludes of John Adams used to dizzyingly ecstatic effect, and the most emotionally persuasive sex scene of recent years a stimulating bonus. Guadagnino’s swooping camera moves only add to the mood of delirious excess as the plot works itself up into full-bore climactic tragedy. It’s really quite something.

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