Cinematographer Yorick Le Saux's elegant images of buildings -- stony exteriors, lux interiors -- and weather-worn statuary suggest centuries-old tradition but also invite a meditative or appreciative silence.
A pall of deadly self-indulgence spreads as the story moves from operatic passion to soap-opera melodrama. It's as if director Luca Guadagnino filmed a synopsis of the script rather than a fully realized screenplay.
The characters seem reasonably interesting, and so we continue to watch them. But at no point do we care about them any more than we might care about attractive strangers sitting at another table in a restaurant.
By the end of this often soaringly beautiful melodrama, which closes with a funeral, Emma's face will have crumpled into a ruin. But it will also be fully alive, having been granted, like Pygmalion's statue, the breath of life.
Bold, thrilling, and undeniably sensuous melodrama uncannily invokes the pleasures of smell, taste, and touch ... Everything dances here: the camera, the colors, Tilda's eyes, even pollinating bees during a sumptuously shot sex scene.