Luca & The Music Of His Movies

Luca Guadagnino makes sumptuous movies, and so he needs sumptuous music for their soundtracks. The Italian director has used the works of Sufjan Stevens, the Rolling Stones, and, often, American composer John Adams to elucidate the emotions his impressionistic camera draws from his actors. In his latest film, Best Picture contender Call Me by Your Name, this includes a heartbreaking scene of a young man staring into a fire, crying, while one of Stevens’ original songs plays over the crackle of the flames.

The rest of the film varies wildly from that deep moment, whether it’s excellent skanking soundtracked by the Psychedelic Furs or Bach performed on the piano as seduction. To further understand how he thinks about music (and, honestly, to fan out about John Adams), we called Guadagnino to discuss what music has meant to his life and his films. Clearly the pairings are paying off: Just today, Stevens was nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars, for “Mystery of Love.”

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