Luca Guadagnino stages in such an original way that you can’t compare it to anyone else. His style is not innovative and has not an immediate impact, but it’s very personal, different and bold.
The story he chooses to tell using this style is not always at the same level of the form but the rhythm given by his movie scenes, always upsetting and never banal, makes even the most common theme something innovative, stressing the fact that in cinema the way in which you deal with a story is more important than the story itself. A bigger splash is an operetta in which famous rock singer, her boyfriend, her manager and his daughter meet in Pantelleria during the summertime.
As the great Italian cinema teaches us, the idea of putting four people who work in the cultural industry in a wild scenario like Pantelleria is an occasion to tell the audience about the difficulties of understanding each other. But that’s not what strikes in A bigger splash. The plot counts less than its realization, that alignes with its characters in an unbelievable way. The four, who understand and don’t understand each other, are not seen from afar, with the distance in which cinema has accustomed us when there are intellectual or lofty figures on stage, but with a less comfortable proximity.
In the whole movie, maybe it’s only the acting that appears traditional, because the way in which it’s supported by the soundtrack (again, after I Am Love, in some scenes the volume covers the dialogues with a strident effect that reminds of the concern of not understanding each other in real life), by the photography and the editing, confirms constantly the necessity of rethinking about the way in which we treat new themes, rather than finding other ones. For this reason, in the finale, the addition of very actual and modern themes that we link to Pantelleria is not out of place but it’s maybe the only way to talk about it without repeating all those things that now we don’t listen to anymore.
Guadagnino and his team (a crew that is not only a “technical branch” but they give a great help to many levels of the movie), after I Am Love are still looking for new paths, new strategies in order to amaze and strike unexpectedly the audience, with the aim of talking about the most common themes. What animates the movie are the quick details, alternated to long scenes; a vacillating editing rhythm that does not follow audience’s expectations nor cinema models; his tendency to alternate very easily the zoom in and out to the opposite side, trying to recreate the common language of the cinema of the ‘60s. All of this is not enough to make this four-people-drama the masterpiece that the bold form seems to desire, but it’s clear that this cinema is the one to shoot.
By Gabriele Niola
Translation: Bianca Baroni
Photos: Eleonora Agostini
In collaboration with Badtaste.it