Self-Study Questions for Luca Guadagnino’s “I Am Love” (2009)

1. While watching the film, take notes on how the seasonal cycle is used and then comment on how this helps you understand the characters and the story.
2. In what ways do the Recchi family’s villa and Antonio’s house help you understand the film thematically? What do they tell you about their inhabitants?
3. Would it be right to call Emma an outsider in the family? Why? Why not?
4. What do Tancredi and Antonio represent in the film? What do their relationships with Emma reveal about themselves?
5. Make a list of the scenes where mirrors are used and then discuss in what ways their use could be significant.
6. Comment on why the director very often chooses to show the doors and the stairs of the Recchi family’s villa.
7. What does the birthday present Betta gives her grandfather reveal about herself and the grandfather?
8. Comment on the references to Italy’s fascist era in the film. Would you associate any characters with that era?
9. Discuss the significance of Betta’s following words to Edo: “We’ll even be richer”.
10. Comment on Edo and Tancredi’s final words to Emma.
11. What is the significance of the restaurant sequence where we see Emma, her mother-in-law and Edo’s girlfriend? How does the director use light and colors here and why?
12. What messages do you think the director could be conveying through his use of food and cooking in the film?
13. What is the significance of the Russian soup?
14. Why do you think the two of the Recchi women (Emm ad Berta) have their hair cut? What does this tell you?
15. Can you identify some references to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” in “I am love”? Why do you think the director might have chosen to have such references?
16. What could be the significance of Tancredi’s jacket in the church sequence of the film? Do you see any other objects that might have symbolic presence in the same sequence?
17. What is your view of Emma’s transformation?
18. Why do you think the film ends in a cave? What does the cave suggest? Discuss the film’s references to the tale of Ariadne and Dionysus.
19. Why do you think the film is called “I am love”? Is this a good title? Why? Why not?

Comment on the following:

I am love is about the ancient war between tradition and feeling” Roger Ebert, Chicago-Sun Times
I Am Love is a cinematic feast for those who love a diverse visual style and don’t mind an accompanying slow pace, or for those who appreciate the opportunity to observe a masterful performance” James Berardinelli, Reelviews
“We don’t know who Emma is. Perhaps she doesn’t know who she is, which is almost interesting” Mick LaSelle, SF Gate
“Some reputable critics have acclaimed as a masterpiece what seems to me a rather shallow film.” Philip French, The Guardian


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