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Call Me By Your Name Director Claps Back at Critics Who Say It Wasn’t Sexy Enough

‘CMBYN’ Director Claps Back at Critics Who Say It Wasn’t Sexy Enough

‘CMBYN’ Director Claps Back at Critics Who Say It Wasn’t Sexy Enough

Yes, we're still having this conversation.


Director Luca Guadagnino is speaking out against accusations that Call Me By Your Name purposely avoided showing its two main characters have sex due to “puritan anxiety.”

The idea that films have become sexless has been bounced around for years now, but LGBTQ+ films, in particular, have long been hit with criticisms one way or the other. If there’s no sex, a movie might be criticized for being afraid to show queer intimacy. If there’s explicit sex, it might be accused of fetishizing same-sex attraction. That’s not to say there aren’t valid critiques, but there seems to be an extra level of discourse when it comes to LGBTQ+ films that isn’t always easy to navigate.

Call Me By Your Name wasn’t immune to that criticism when it came out in 2017 and won over so many fans. One piece of criticism from author Ocean Vuong suggested the film suffered from “puritan anxiety,” citing “the moment where the camera goes out the window” when Elio and Oliver have sex, removing the audience from the intimate moment.

But Guadagnino says that has nothing to with censorship and was an artistic choice he made for the moment.

“In my opinion, that was the moment when I was leaving the lovers alone. I didn’t want to make a movie about the lust of two bodies,” he told Fantastic Man recently. “Call Me by Your Name is a movie about love. It’s never about showing a raunchy moment of sex, or whatever kind of sex they were having. I don’t know how these guys were having sex. That’s not the point.”

He also pushed back against the idea that he was hoping a lack of gay sex would appeal to a “mainstream audience,” suggesting the movie was never expected to be as big as it got, and criticized Vuong’s criticism of CMBYN in particular.

“I think there’s a shallowness in what he’s saying, and a self-seriousness that I find disappointing. Because I would never put myself in the position of saying something about the artistic perspective of someone else,” Guadagino said. “It’s not about liking the film or not; that’s another story. I think to complain about not literally showing sex – it’s a little bit of a narrow way of looking at that movie.”

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