Sunday, July 11, 2010


I AM LOVE (Io sono l’amore) caught me off guard.  It is truly a masterful film.  Tilda Swinton is breathtaking as Emma, an upper class Italian wife and mother who we initially meet as she floats through her easy, sensuous life of running a large country household.

Asumptuous Christmas Eve feast unfolds with family and close friends.  We watch as she attempts to nurture her chilly, industrialist husband Tancredi (Pippo Delbono) and encourage her handsome son Edoardo Jr. (Flavio Parenti) and his young Muslim business partner and chef, Antonio (Edoardo Gabriellini) as they plan the opening of a rugged, provincial restaurant. 

Suddenly, an unexpected compromise occurs between her and her son's partner.   Staggering passion erupts between them that forever alter their lives.  The son’s discovery of his mother infidelity and the tragic implications that arise affect the entire family.  John Adams’s musical score offers a perfect counterpoint to the twisted passion of the story.

The covert theme of subconscious incestuous desire of a mother toward her son’s business partner is unsettling.  However, we are lulled into acquiescence by the lush cinematography, editing, acting and color palate that infuses the story.   

The ending is shattering.  Go out of your way to see this extraordinary film.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Theatrical buzz surrounded NEXT FALL, partly because of Elton John and partner David Furnish's producing involvement.  It also seemed an intriguing  opportunity to discover how a gay fundamental Christian and a gay atheist (relatively) might manage a 'meaningful' relationship in urban NYC.

Unfortunately, the first act felt more like a WILL & GRACE episode than a well written Broadway drama that could  stand up to the brilliantly crafted words and conflicts of Broadway's RED.

We are presented with an age difference between 2 lovers, Luke (Patrick Heusinger)  and Adam  (Patrick Breen).  In addition, each are religious  opposites.  Were there any sexual chemistry between the two actors we might at least be rooting for this relationship to survive beyond the witty repartee sprinkled among the players.  Hip jokes do not a play make. 

Add to the mix a fundamental Christian dad, a fag hag and a former lover of Adam's.  One  longed for a fresh turn that might have offered us compelling insights as to why  two disparate characters really belonged to one another. 

 The  play is told in flashback.  Luke is fighting for his life in an Intensive Care Unit after a shattering taxi accident.  The playwright, Geoffrey Nauffts,  attempts to draw us into the basic ache that true love must survive.  Ultimately, this theatregoer felt manipulated and disappointed by the flat direction of Sheryl Kaller and the professional ensemble of actors who lacked an ounce of chemistry with one another.   The audience gave the company a single curtain call  and called it a night.