Music in Film: Call Me By Your Name

todayJuly 24, 2019 16

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By Madisen Gummer
Music Journalist

One of the many powers of music is its ability to heighten any moment in life, and especially in film. “Call Me By Your Name” is a quintessential idyllic summer, coming of age film, with a soundtrack that is beautiful itself, and when paid attention to, adds so much more depth and meaning. A beautiful mix of enchanting piano melodies and ‘80s pop sung in a handful of languages, this soundtrack highlights the themes of ephemera and beauty that are paralleled in this story. The following songs are examples of the most poetic uses of music displayed in this film and are featured on the soundtrack

“Hallelujah Junction – 1st Movement”

The opening credits slide through pictures of roman ruin sculptures as this song plays in the background; the contrast of high and low staccato piano sounds set the tone of the whole film. It reoccurs throughout the film many times, almost becoming like a theme song.

“J’adore Venice”

Oliver, Elio and a bunch of Italian locals are sitting around a bar when this song is first played in the background near the beginning of the film when Oliver first arrives in Italy. It is heard again through the car radio on Elio’s ride home with his mom after Oliver has left them at the end of the summer. The way this song is paralleled and contrasted at the same time is elegiac; sorrowful and elegant, pure poetry. A soundtrack to the characters’ life as well as accompaniment to the audience’s perception of their story.

“Love My Way”

If one song could encapsulate the entire movie, it would be this one. It hits themes of sexuality and bending binaries, as it is first heard when Oliver is dancing with a woman, Chiara, but towards the end of the movie he is dancing with Elio. This is another exquisite and evocative parallel that makes this soundtrack above and beyond. With their fun xylophone sounds and catchy melody, The Psychedelic Furs deliver an adventuresome and whimsical song about spontaneity and not caring.

“Un Barque Sur L’Ocean”

First played during multiple shots of the stillness of their italian home on a hot summer’s afternoon and leading to Elio playing it on piano, this is one of the most enchanting tracks in the film. The piano creates an undulating effect, like daydreaming during a siesta; mystifying and transcending. It is heard again when Elio and Oliver are walking around a WWI memorial statue, when a conversation stikes up between them, subtly about feelings and sexuality; they walk around the statue as they dance around the subject. The song continues to echo as Elio says “because I wanted you to know.”

“Futile Devices”

The first of Sufjan Stevens’ three masterpieces for “Call Me By Your Name” plays while Elio is playing the waiting game for Oliver. A shot of the moon pans over to the silhouette of Elio and the leaves of the vine covered walkway he is sitting underneath at dusk. Blue light that has leaked into the film washes over the screen, creating a dream like state. The finishing touches of this song make this one of the most beautiful moments in the whole movie. But not even this lasts, as the song continues to play as Elio is back in his room when Oliver comes home, who ignores his existence, and mutters “traitor.”

“Radio Varsavia”

The Peach Scene. If you have seen this film, you know what I’m talking about. This melodramatic song by italian superstar Franco Battiato is perfect for this melodramatic moment, connecting the real world and society back to an intimate scene and the raw and natural world. It is a scene that is messy and odd, but iconic on so many different levels.

“Visions of Gideon”

This song accompanies the emotional calamity that is the last scene and the end credits. The combination of Chalamet’s acting and this song leaves you with your eyes wet and your feelings hurt. Stevens’ creates another genius track that hallowing and haunting at the same time. It sums up the summer of Elio and Oliver, within a deep reflection in the wintertime.

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