"Sickly Sweet: A Call Me By Your Name Diary" (excerpt four) by Saffron Maeve

August 12, 2018

MARCH 25, 2018

The last time I watched it in a theatre. I have not seen it since and I’m not sure that I want to. This is undoubtedly one of my most treasured films and I want to leave it where I last felt safe with it— on the big screen.

Today was the last time I got to see Call Me By Your Name on screen. My friend and I went back for the third time to the TIFF Bell Lightbox to watch it. The first two times, we were situated in large auditoriums. This was certainly exciting and today, we assumed would be the same. However, we ended up in a very small theatre of about 20 people. Initially, I was not happy with this because it felt so claustrophobic and odd in comparison to our prior experiences. By the end, hearing people crying and taking deep breaths almost felt comforting— we were all collectively experiencing the magic of this one thing. It felt wholesome.

Now, I am notorious within my friend group for sobbing when watching Call Me By Your Name but this was the first showing that I did not cry at. It’s odd to think about because I walked into it feeling upset, knowing that this beautifully crafted beacon of love and summertime no longer had a place on the big screen for me. I felt distraught knowing that my most emotional, theatrical experiences with the film are over but, somehow, I was so happy. I smiled throughout scenes that used to make me cry, I shed a tear of joy during the "Visions of Gideon" scene (the one that tends to rip me apart the most), and I finally understood the joy of Stuhlbarg’s speech— it is no longer sad, it is a declaration of care and honesty. It was like, for the first time, I was experiencing the film from the point of view of love rather than loss. It is so easy to become engulfed in Elio’s sorrows that one forgets the beauty of their relationship. Every moment, while fleeting, was still filled with desire. Finally, Elio staring into the camera, a shy smile plastered on his face, as though reiterating the best parts of his and Oliver’s journey for the audience made me feel like I was a part of something intangible and eternal. I’m really sad that this era is over but, god, am I happy to have experienced it.

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