“Bones and all” by Luca Guadagnino: the love that eats everything … | The Perfume of Dolce Vita


“Bones and all” by Luca Guadagnino: the love that eats everything…

Luca Guadagnino continues his journey into the meanderings of love, the eternal engine of human action, of that love which, when lived with total transport, strips your skin “down to the bone”, down to the “bones and all”, as from the title (“Bones and all”) of the latter film by the 51-year-old director and screenwriter from Palermo, now a certainty of the national film scene. This time, having abandoned the northern Italian province of “Call me by your name”, Guadagnino moved bag and baggage to the States for his first film shot entirely there: the placid countryside has been replaced by immense horizons, dry fields and desolate suburbs, typical of certain American landscapes. Geographical and even existential suburbs, because this typical timeless “road movie” speaks of it. The bones mentioned above are not accidental: from them to the other theme of the film – “cannibal” love – the step is short, however short is the step that separates a good film from even a wise film – in the interpretations, in the editing, in the music – but in the end only half successful.

So it is for “Bones and all”, already presented at the Venice Film Festival, an adaptation of the novel by Camille De Angelis, the story of a journey into the margins of society, where women and men live marginalized by working conditions or even ” starting point” of its existence. This is the case of Marven and Lee, played respectively by the excellent Taylor Russell, the perfect embodiment of melancholy, and by the new star Timothée Chalamet (already iconic actor for Guadagnino), who meet on the street after being kicked out of their families as… addicted to cannibalism. An instinct discovered almost casually by Marven in her adolescent relationships, during a “pajama party” with her friends, which then leads her to be abandoned by her father too and in a few days to come across two other similar ones, never met before – already in itself a limping event in the screenplay by David Kajganich: precisely the solitary but energetic Lee and the eccentric Sully, a middle-aged man (played by an equally good Mark Rylance) characterized by a thin ponytail and a hat with a long feather .

The metaphor is evident in Guadagnino’s imaginative filmic universe: the body of the other to be loved, to the point of wanting to bite it, even in the parent-child relationship (Marven is looking for the mother he never knew, while Lee longs for the heat of the left family), as lifeblood to face the difficulties related to «solitude of existence and, at the same time, the desire to break this solitude through being guided by another», as Guadagnino explained. It is also a metaphor for the marginalization in which the very young are increasingly struggling. The pretext, on the other hand, has a literary tradition, even a consolidated one, which sinks into Dante (the heart fed to the beloved woman of the “Vita Nuova”) and Boccaccio. Marven and Lee (and Sully) struggle, look for each other and recognize each other with their mouths dirty with human blood, getting inebriated by their smell, that smell that leads them to smell each other and find themselves hundreds of meters away, even in the dark, even in the squalor of a nocturnal meadow, almost like vampires (the legacy of “Suspiria”, a 2018 film by Guadagnino, is good at winking at the younger ones without however falling into the trash of certain sagas of the genre). But when the pretext still ends up prevailing over the narrative, the film stumbles and leaves us perplexed. Everything – I repeat – is well packaged and we let ourselves be involved in the story of the two teenagers. However, if we find ourselves waiting for the next Granguignol scene rather than the future development of the apologetic story on the strength (but also the flaws) of love that breaks down the walls of solitude, this may certainly be a limit for the viewer, but perhaps even the author should ask himself some questions about the (betrayed) intentions of a gimmick that in the long run takes away from what should be the “living flesh” (to stay on topic) of the subject matter.

“Bones and all” by Luca Guadagnino: the love that eats everything … | The Perfume of Dolce Vita