A Fiction That Never Ends: Love & Call Me By Your Name
This month, a writer explores fandom obsession through her love for Call Me By Your Name
We’ve been walking through the Italian countryside for 45 minutes when we finally find their spot. It’s right next to the water like it is in the film, and even though the tall grass we’ve seen on screen is dried out in the heat of early spring, it still feels magical. We lay down and laugh with happiness and a hint of embarrassment. We don’t kiss like Elio and Oliver do; we’re just friends. I know that I love this mutual obsession more than I could love a real life romantic partner.
This spot is one of the first places me and my friend visit on our trip to the locations of Call Me By Your Name, the 2017 film following the heady rush of first love between precocious Elio and his father’s research assistant, Oliver. Our trip is spent walking the streets of Crema and wandering the squares of Bergamo, where we seek out a nondescript wall that the couple dance drunkenly against with the patience and precision of private detectives.
For me at least, the trip is a typical expression of love. Throughout my life, I have loved bands, films, and books with an intensity more often attributed to teenagers. I’ve yet to find a way for my pop cultural obsessions to coexist with my romantic relationships: real life could never live up to the intense, unflinching love I feel as a fan. There’s no cracks in these perfect, polished things for mundanity to fall through.
Most of my obsessions are love stories themselves. I love Call Me By Your Name because it reinforces my unrealistic vision of romantic love. It’s a prism through which to idealise my own failed relationships: to crystallise them as beautiful and tragic like they are in the film. The central romance of Call Me By Your Name works as a neat distillation of fandom: a perfect, jewel-like version of love without the adverse effects of time. A fiction that never ends. Appropriately, the only location we don’t visit on our trip is the train station where the lovers say their final goodbyes.