VENICE — There’s a message that social scientists and environmental watchdogs have been attempting to convey on this newspaper for some time. But perhaps you haven’t really been listening. Perhaps it should take a special messenger to catch your attention.
“I feel societal collapse is within the air,” Timothée Chalamet said on Friday on the Venice Film Festival.
Though you may expect Chalamet to issue a doomy quote like that while promoting “Dune,” wherein his character presides over the destruction of an empire, the 26-year-old actor tossed it out during a news conference for “Bones and All,” a recent film that reunites him with Luca Guadagnino, the director of Chalamet’s breakout vehicle “Call Me by Your Name.”
But on the other hand, discussing “Bones and All” can put an individual in a more contemplative way of thinking: Though it’s a romance — Chalamet plays one among two drifters, traveling together across the Midwest searching for belonging — the movie is stark, lonely and greater than a bit gory because our two lovers occur to be cannibals.
(Perhaps now you understand why this meaty film is coming out Thanksgiving week.)
Adapted from the novel by Camille DeAngelis, “Bones and All” tracks Maren (“Waves” star Taylor Russell), an 18-year-old who has just transferred to a recent highschool where she tentatively befriends a classmate after which, somewhat less tentatively, bites down hard on the girl’s finger. Maren’s dad (André Holland) has been dreading this kind of thing, as she’s shown an inclination toward consuming human flesh ever since she was a toddler. So when her father speeds her out of town and abandons her in the midst of nowhere, Maren must finally seek guidance from her own kind.
Fortunately, she will be able to smell fellow cannibals, including Chalamet’s Lee, who she forges a young romance with, and Mark Rylance, who plays a veteran cannibal with unnerving Harry Dean Stanton energy. There’s even a scene where Maren and Lee run right into a cannibal drifter played by Michael Stuhlbarg, who was so sweet in “Call Me by Your Name” and here is something else entirely.
“It was a delight, the concept we could form of summon Michael to be the perverted father after having been the loving father in ‘Call Me by Your Name,’” Guadagnino said on the news conference. But when people on social media are tempted to attract a link from “Bones and All” to a different “Call Me by Your Name” actor — Armie Hammer, whose profession fell apart when the star’s cannibalistic fantasies got here to light and sexual assault allegations followed — Guadagnino would somewhat you didn’t.
“The connection between this type of digital muckraking and our want to make this movie is nonexistent, and it needs to be met with a shrug,” Guadagnino told Deadline last week. “I would favor to discuss what the film has to say, somewhat than things that don’t have anything to do with it.”
Social media was a hot topic on the film’s news conference: Though the film is about within the Nineteen Eighties, one journalist felt that the outcast characters in “Bones and All” suffer society’s judgment in a way that may very well be likened to a modern-day pile-on.
“To be young now, or to be young at any time when — I can only speak for my generation — is to be intensely judged,” Chalamet said. “It was a relief to play characters which might be wrestling with an internal dilemma absent the power to go on Reddit or Twitter, Instagram or TikTok and determine where they slot in.”
Added his co-star Russell, “The hope is admittedly which you could find your individual compass inside all of [social media], and that looks as if a difficult task now.”
Chalamet concurred. “I feel it’s tough to be alive now,” he said before issuing his prediction of societal collapse. What made him so certain? “It smells prefer it,” he said, as Lee or Maren might.
But Chalamet wasn’t totally without hope. He said “Bones and All” portrayed that disenfranchisement and tribelessness in a way that might prove helpful now.
“Without being pretentious, that’s why hopefully these movies matter,” Chalamet said. “The role of the artist is to shine a lightweight on what’s occurring.”