1. Learning from the masters...on his own terms
Guadagnino remembers wanting to be a director ever since he was a child. He fed that natural curiosity by consuming as much relevant material as he could + absorbing every implicit lesson he found (which is pretty good advice!).
Italian state TV has an enormous + vast repertoire of film that they acquire [...] That was my film school. That + reading interviews with filmmakers.
2. Being an all-or-nothing director
I can cook. I can take care of a house. I can consult somebody on the way they can dress. I can make a living out of cinema. If I do movies I have to be in absolute charge + control. Otherwise, I do other jobs like this.
As some of the more Type-A creatives may understand, Guadagnino feels that you should let him make his film already. This is not to say that he's a reluctant collaborator, however; his work with Tilda Swinton (with whom he's collaborated many times) + composer John Adams proves that he welcomes other perspectives...as long as he respects them.
3. Knowing when to go a little bit rogue
What does it mean to "leave the door of reality open on set"? For Guadagnino, it means avoiding a literal interpretation of the script. As a director, he recommends getting some distance from the project + realising that you have to contribute your voice, too.
When you do a movie the script encompasses many many many fuctions. Most of these functions are brutal + technical [...] As a narrative tool the director has the need to learn it very deeply, but at the same time to kind of become autonomous from it.
4. Paring it all the way down to the basics
Economy of means + economy of expression: I think it's something really valuable [...] You don't need much when you have great performers + an environment that is a character in itself.
If you don't have the resources to create the big, bombastic film of your dreams, never fear! According to Luca Guadagnino, you're better off keeping it simple + relying more heavily on the actors + the setting anyway. Flashy effects + expensive sets can take a back seat.