Luca Guadagnino's new film Bones and All might revolve around a young couple who eat human flesh – but according to the Call Me By Your Name director, it should be seen first and foremost as a love story and not a cannibal story.


"[The audience] should hear first 'love story'," he said during an exclusive interview with "They should hear first like a fable, like a dark fable about trying to thrive with love."

Even if it is primarily a love story, it is Guadagnino's second film in a row – following his remake of Dario Argento's Giallo classic Suspiria – which could be described as horror-inflected.

But asked if that was a deliberate choice, the director explained that he wasn't really thinking about genre while he was making the film.

"Life is so unpredictable," he said. "And I decided since I couldn't control the flow of life to surrender to it. And I was basically not planning on making... I wasn't planning on making this movie.

More like this

"And this movie came to me and when I read the script I didn't read it as a horror movie, I read it as a beautiful love story between two kids who are disenfranchised and burdened by a kind of nature that they cannot escape somehow.

"That's how I deciphered the book, the script. Yes, they're cannibals and yes, this must come across through the movie with darkness. But I wasn't really thinking in terms of genre."

The film – which reunites Guadagnino with Call Me By Your Name star Timothée Chalamet – is the Italian director's first to be shot and set in the USA, unfolding in the late 1980s.

But he said that he didn't necessarily want it to come across like a film that was made by an outsider offering a fresh perspective on America.

"I try to resist that," he said. "Because I don't like when a non-American goes to America and sees it from the point of view of a sort of grotesque vernacular, that can make America a sort of simplification of the country through the idea of the types that makes America, or what we believe are the neuroses of America.

"I'm more humanistic in that I think we have to stay there, immerse ourselves there and be at the height of the place and the people that are described in the movie. I tried to follow the lessons of people like Fritz Lang or Billy Wilder who went from Europe to America to make movies – and they belonged."

Bones and All is released in UK cinemas on 23rd November 2022. Check out our TV Guide or Streaming Guide, or visit our Film hub for more news and features.


The latest issue of Radio Times is on sale now – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times View From My Sofa podcast.