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I Am Love (Io Sono l'Amore)

I Am Love (Io Sono l'Amore)

Cinematographer Yorick Le Saux creates artful images for the sensous Italian melodrama I Am Love.

It’s been years since Italy has produced a film about the life of the haute bourgeoisie as sumptuous, sensuous and grand as I Am Love (Io Sono l’Amore). References to Luchino Visconti’s films have peppered reviews, and director Luca Guadagnino acknowledges that he drew from that well, but, he insists, “I wanted to create my own prototype.” Helping Guadagnino realize that ambition was French cinematographer Yorick Le Saux, whose work on Erick Zonca’s Julia (2008) had caught his eye.

 Tilda Swinton and Edoardo Gabbriellini star as the illicit lovers, courtesy Magnolia Pictures

Tilda Swinton and Edoardo Gabbriellini star as the illicit lovers, courtesy Magnolia Pictures

I Am Love portrays two worlds, each beautiful and seductive in its own way. The story begins in the exquisitely appointed palazzo of the Recchi family, a modern-day dynasty in the textile industry. When paterfamilias Edoardo Recchi Sr. (Gabriele Ferzetti) announces his retirement and passes the torch to his son, Tancredi (Pippo Delbono), and grandson, Edoardo Jr. (Flavio Parenti), during a birthday dinner, the family’s comfortable patterns begin to unravel. The biggest upheaval involves Emma (Tilda Swinton), Tancredi’s Russian-born trophy wife, who falls in love with one of her son’s friends, a young chef named Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini). Edoardo and Antonio decide to partner on a restaurant near San Remo, and it is in this bucolic Riviera setting that Emma and Antonio first entwine.

Developed by Guadagnino and Swinton over seven years, I Am Love was shot over 45 days mostly on practical locations in Milan, San Remo and the village of Castel Vittorio, near the French border. “From the beginning, we talked about the two worlds,” recalls Le Saux. “The world of the Recchis is strict, with more contrast, wide angles and a colder feel in the characters’ relationships. For the countryside, Luca wanted natural light, longer lenses, more close-ups and no depth-of-field, and we strove to be open to catching everything that happened on set.” [...]

Published in the July 2010 issue of American Cinematographer.

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