August 10, 1971
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A prolific director of features, short films, documentaries and advertising spots in his native Italy, Luca Guadagnino reveled in complex emotional entanglements and sumptuous visuals in features like "I Am Love" (2009) and "A Bigger Splash" (2015). Born to Italian and Algerian parents in Palermo, Italy in 1971, Guadagnino spent six years in Ethiopia until returning to his family to Italy. He studied film history and criticism at the Sapienza University of Rome, and worked briefly as a critic before trying his hand at directing. Guadagnino began producing and directing short films in the late '90s, earning critical praise for the experimental feature "The Protagonists" (1999), with Tilda Swinton as a film director who travels with her Italian crew to London to investigate a murder case. Swinton would collaborate with Guadagnino on several subsequent projects, including the documentary interview "Tilda Swinton: The Love Factory" (2002) and the Oscar-nominated "I Am Love" (2009), with the British actress as the unfaithful wife of an Italian textile manufacturer (Flavio Parenti). In addition to these efforts, he also helmed numerous documentaries ("Mundo civilizado," (2003) and features like the Italian box office hit "Melissa P." (2005), about a teenaged girl's sexual misadventures. He also directed numerous short films and promotional material for fashion lines like Fendi and Ferragamo, produced short films for other filmmakers, like the award-winning "Diarchy" (2010) for director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino, and even directed a production of the opera "Falstaff" for the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona, Italy in 2011. Feature films, however, remained his most impressive showcase, as evidenced by the critical acclaim for his 2015 film "A Bigger Splash," which refashioned the 1969 French drama "La Piscine" as an erotic psychological drama with Swinton as a rock star whose vacation on a remote Italian island is interrupted by the arrival of her former lover (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter (Dakota Johnson). "Bigger Splash" was nominated for a Golden Lion and won two awards at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival, including Best Innovative Budget Award, and led to a slew of future film projects. One of these was his commercial breakthrough film, the romance "Call Me By Your Name" (2017), which garnered strong reviews and made an overnight star of its leading man, Timothee Chalamet. Guadignano followed that up with a stylish 2018 remake of Italian director Dario Argento's unnerving horror film "Suspiria" (1977) , which reunited him with Dakota Johnson.