“I want the audience to witness on the screen something that can touch each of them.” – Luca Guadagnino
*In “The Bigger Splash,” Tilda Swinton stars as a prominent international rock star (Marianne) pursued by one of the music business’ most successful record producers—and her ex-boyfriend, Harry (Ralph Fiennes).
Harry finds Marianne on the sprawling and beautiful volcanic island of Pantelleria in Italy off the coast of Tunisia vacationing with her boyfriend, Paul (Mathias Schoenaerts), an old friend of Harry. The plot thickens with Harry’s newly discovered daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson) to seduce Paul.
Fiennes, Swinton, and the filmmakers talked about their film recently at the Park Hyatt New York Hotel. On the peaceful isle of tortured souls, Harry was the most irritating. The Film Strip asked Fiennes if his character had any appealing traits? “I liked Harry,” Fiennes laughed. I can see he irritates people, but I liked his provocative, mischievous and slightly demonic quality.
“I liked that. I think he’s someone enjoying every second seeing Marianne unfold and provoking people. He challenges all the social norms. I like his honesty. It’s annoying because people don’t like to be [confronted]. It’s invasive isn’t it, people pushing us to be honest about who we are? I think he can be great fun. He can be charming, he make the party go, and he makes people laugh.”
When Swinton entered the room, I asked her if she ever thought about being a rock star? “I’ve known many musicians in my life and I know that life at second hand,” she revealed. “What I can imagine is that moment we show her, in the beginning, on the stage in front of 70,000 people. That ain’t CGI, by the way. Those are all real Italians. Her making this, on the cusp of this decision to step away from that drama and that theater. That, I can absolutely relate to. I can imagine that very easily.”
There is a scene in the film where the vacationers encounter a group of Africans. When asked if the scene was part of the landscape or there to add some tension and make audience think something was going to happen, director Luca Guadagnino said it was quite the contrary. “It was there to show the complexities of human beings and how people interact with one another in passion and describe that in a truthful way, and not a conventional one.
Those that come from North Africa to Europe, try to escape from their political positions. The power of reality that knocks at the door of these four characters [meant] something to me. I think I wanted to generate the uncanniness of our incompactly of understanding the presence another. I want the audience to witness on the screen something that can touch each of them.”
Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]
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