With the Bunsen burner in his hand, the cook Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini) caramelises a little cake with Russian salad. Antonio passes the flame on to Emma (Tilda Swinton), a Russian emigrant and wife of an industrial magnate from Milan. Emma finishes preparing the antipasto. Emma’s son Edoardo (Flavio Parenti) tries the little cake. It is delicious. Edoardo loves Antonio’s cuisine and Emma falls in love with Antonio, which she tries to hide.
A classic drama takes its course, narrated with the dynamic means of the modern cinema. “The camera hugs the actors, telling the story through the smallest details and gestures”, raves the Hollywood Reporter. The music of the renowned opera composer John Adams makes actors and pictures float through rooms, streets and landscapes. Variety compares the director with Hitchcock and Visconti.
Luca Guadagnino deliberated for a long time whether to become a cook or a film maker. As a film maker he follows the rules of good cuisine and prepares his work very thoroughly. He has been working with Tilda Swinton since 1999. In his documentary Cuoco Contadino (Peasant Cook, 2005), he explores the gastronomy and region of Sanremo. The heavenly hills above the Mediterranean Sea are the setting for the second act, in which Emma and Antonio passionately make love.
The third act of Io Sono L’Amore describes a radically changing world. The wealth, the family and the rituals of power all fall apart. What remains is pain, separation, the scent of summer and loving freedom.