Holidays: 5th Column
Il bel paese 4 Columns

We’ll be back with a regular 4Columns issue on September 6. Until then, enjoy our first missive of the summer, in which the editors get lost in an Italian reverie.

Luigi Ghirri, Orbetello, 1974. © Estate of Luigi Ghirri.

Just back from a two-week Italian sojourn, editor-in-chief Margaret Sundell recovered from jet lag and assuaged her sadness at leaving il bel paese by diving into 4Columns’ archives. There, she found solace for herself and suggestions for our gentle readers in three sopraffino reviews that evoke the pleasures of the peninsula.

For listening: Franco Battiato

Nicknamed “Il Maestro” in Italy, where he is considered a national treasure, the prolific singer-composer-writer-filmmaker-painter Franco Battiato is far less known in the Anglophone world. In 2017, the label Superior Viaduct tried to redress that ignorance by reissuing three of his experimental records from the ’70s: Fetus, Pollution, and Sulle Corde Di Aries. Simon Reynolds reviews, praising Battiato’s dulce de leche art rock–pop for its playful mischief and questing passion.

Franco Battiato. Photo: Roberto Masotti.

For looking: Luigi Ghirri

Earlier this year, the Jeu de Paume in Paris presented the first retrospective of Luigi Ghirri’s photographs outside of Italy. Brian Dillon visited the show, admiring “the strain of Ghirri’s art that is all about the photograph itself, its ubiquity in daily Italian life in the 1970s,” as well as Ghirri’s pictures of manufactured Italian landscapes—visually striking images rife with literary and philosophical references, and that often evoke the work of William Eggleston, who was himself a Ghirri devotee.

Luigi Ghirri, Modena, 1973. Image courtesy CSAC, Università di Parma. © Estate of Luigi Ghirri.

For watching: Call Me by Your Name

In late 2017, 4Columns film editor Melissa Anderson praised Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name (an adaptation of André Aciman’s debut 2007 novel of the same name) as “a sexy, melancholy summer idyll.” Set somewhere in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this portrayal of passion between two young men teems with voluptuousness and libidinous hot-weather splendor. It’s worth rewatching now, before Aciman publishes the sequel, Find Me: A Novel, this October.

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name. Photo: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom. Image courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

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