A Bigger Splash

On a small Italian island, a famous rock artist (Tilda Swinton) and her boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts) are recovering from personal problems when they are suddenly visited by a controversial friend (Ralph Fiennes)… Perhaps one shouldn’t think too hard about this interpretation of the French film La Piscine (1969) and just experience it. Very seductive and engaging, full of life, as we follow the sexual games that play out between the couple and their larger-than-life producer friend. Vividly acted by Fiennes and Swinton whose character has been temporarily robbed of her voice. Very much a Mediterranean dream – and nightmare.

2015-Italy-France. 125 min. Color. Produced by Michael Costigan, Luca Guadagnino. Directed by Luca Guadagnino. Screenplay: David Kajganich. Cinematography: Yorick Le Saux. Cast: Tilda Swinton (Marianne Lane), Matthias Schoenaerts (Paul De Smedt), Ralph Fiennes (Harry Hawkes), Dakota Johnson, Lily McMenamy, Aurore Clément.

Trivia: The second part of an informal trilogy that began with I Am Love (2009); the third part is Call Me by Your Name (2017). Cate Blanchett was reportedly considered for Swinton’s role; Margot Robbie for Johnson’s role.

Last word: “I did not want to make a movie that was symbolic. I wanted to make a movie that could be pulled off as a sort of pragmatic, entertaining metaphor for an audience. The painting, [David Hockney’s] ‘A Bigger Splash,’ can be a metaphor, but can also be literal. In the apparent literal aspect of it, there is so much depth. In that series of paintings of California pools and interiors, there is a formal aspect that is very striking. The use of light, color, the use of surfaces. But, also there is a philosophical thing that is interesting to me. Who has made that splash? What happened before? What happened afterwards? Who is underneath the water?” (Guadagnino, The Playlist)

 

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