The Big Issue : Edition 507
THE BIG ISSUE 18 – 28 MARCH 2016 33 Harry arrives, uninvited, to tempt her with remembrances of things past. It is an intoxicating, but bumpy, nostalgia trip. Sun, suspense, sex and jealousy are all heady ingredients for the kind of storytelling Guadagnino excels at – films for grown-ups in which desire is the major organising principle of life. In A Bigger Splash, the yearning for something more, something illicit, something dark, overwhelms its quartet. Guadagnino says he made this movie “to reestablish [the primacy of] the destructive and generative power of desire”. Guadagnino’s investigation into desire’s political dimensions between people is what elevates A Bigger Splash beyond the travel porn that he feels so much of Italian cinema has become. “I wasn’t very much into the idea of making a movie about rich people, lounging by the pool and carrying on with one another,” he admits. But the chance to untangle the very specific “cinematic qualities of desire” did appeal, and it looks both alluring and dangerous in his hands. But demarcations such as “right” and “wrong” have no real place in Guadagnino films. He welcomes ambiguity, because things are inevitably more complex than these categories allows; sexual relationships, in particular, are always intricate. “I believe in complicated characters, because life is complicated, people are complicated and it’s important to evoke this complexity.” In A Bigger Splash he evokes it with significant style, a highly visual approach that explodes with colour, life and feeling. It is Fiennes’ satyr-like Harry who most embodies this sensory overload; his appetite for voluptuous pleasures knows no bounds. Whether gutting a fish, swilling wine, swimming nude at night or manic dancing – an extended sequence in which Fiennes moves wildly to The Rolling Stones’ ‘Emotional Rescue’ is a career highlight for the actor – Harry is unapologetic in his desire to taste everything. The character’s provocations make trouble, but he also cleaves open a space in an already strained environment for expressing uncomfortable truths, complicating relations between everyone. It is a space similar to the one Guadagnino works to unlock as a storyteller. He’s searching for an emotional truth, a revolutionary beauty. “I always try to put my camera and my perspective in the position that the story requires,” he says. Guadagnino hopes that his films will find an audience who don’t mind the discomfort that comes from looking closely at the untidiness of human nature. “I think there is a great craving for it. People want to see films that are challenging.” by Joanna Di Mattia » A Bigger Splash is in cinemas 24 March. (FROM LEFT) MATTHIAS SCHOENAERTS, TILDA SWINTON, RALPH FIENNES AND DAKOTA JOHNSON ARE THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE QUARTET OF DESIRE IN LUCA GUADAGNINO’S (INSET) NEW MOVIE A BIGGER SPLASH.