Revered screenwriter James Ivory, who recently won an Oscar for his screenplay adaptation of Call Me By Your Name, has criticized the movie's lack of full-frontal nudity and explicit sex. The film, directed by Luca Guadagnino, stars Timothée Chalamet as Elio, a teenager who falls in love with Oliver (Armie Hammer), a graduate student who comes to stay in his family's Italian villa for the summer. The film received rave reviews last year, touring film festivals for many months before eventually going wide in theaters, and received four Oscar nominations in total.
However, Ivory isn't the first to criticize Call Me By Your Name for being prudish. There is a particularly raunchy scene involving a peach, but the gay love scenes are cut short, with the movie either cutting or panning away. The original screenplay is considerably more explicit, with Elio and Oliver's first time described in detail. The book upon which it is based, by André Aciman, is also very explicit - though that's partly because it's narrated by a 17 year-old boy with a very active imagination.
Ivory voiced his criticisms of the nudity and explicit sex being cut from the movie in an interview with The Guardian. Guadagnino has said that it was a creative decision not to show Elio and Oliver having sex, but Ivory says that it was a clause in Chalamet and Hammer's contracts that prevented the movie from showing full-frontal nudity.
“When Luca says he never thought of putting nudity in, that is totally untrue... He sat in this very room where I am sitting now, talking about how he would do it, so when he says that it was a conscious aesthetic decision not to – well, that’s just bullshit... When people are wandering around before or after making love, and they’re decorously covered with sheets, it’s always seemed phoney to me. I never liked doing that."
When asked about why he decided to pan away to an open window when Elio and Oliver begin to have sex at New York Film Festival, Guadagnino defended the decision (via IndieWire):
"To put our gaze upon their lovemaking would have been a sort of unkind intrusion. I think that their love is in all things, so when we gaze towards the window and we see the trees, there is a sense of witnessing that. I refuse with strong firmness that I was coy in not showing that, because I think that Oliver and Elio and Armie and Timothée, the four of them displayed a very strong intimacy and closeness in so many ways and it was enough.”
Guadagnino also spoke on the topic in an interview with THR, saying, "I wasn’t interested [in showing the sex] at all. The tone would’ve been very different from what I was looking for." It's possible that his hand was forced by the actors' contracts, as Ivory believes, or perhaps it really was a wholly creative and aesthetic decision. Who knows - perhaps we'll see a little more skin in the planned sequel(s).
Source: The Guardian