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Untimely Desires, Historical Efflorescence, and Italy in Call Me by Your Name

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rosalind Ann Galt, Karl Schoonover

Original languageEnglish
JournalItalian Culture
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jun 2019

King's Authors


Critics of Call Me by Your Name/Chiamami col tuo nome (Luca Guadagnino, 2017) have accused the film of being inauthentic. In venues in Italy and internationally, we find the complaint that the film is not really Italian, does not include authentic gay sex, or that it is not authentically gay at all. For some, its bourgeois class fantasy renders it inauthentic in the sense of not being gritty enough, not a true representation of Italy’s class and ethnic diversity. For others, the way Elio’s family are open to his sexuality is implausibly liberal. Regardless of what aspect of the film is being attacked, this problem of authenticity seems to center the negative press. This essay uses these questions as a way to interrogate the film’s relationship to Italian-ness and its representation of homosexuality. Although cries of inauthenticity often serve simply to bolster a conservative approach to cinematic value, setting up a “real” and “true” identity against which a film might fail to measure up, we think this debate over Chiamami exposes a fraught intersection of Italian cinema and gay histories.

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