While John Adams is known for composing music for many different forms, films is not a genre he is familiar with. "I Am Love", featuring Tilda Swinton first appeared at the Venice Film Festival in Italy September last year and in limited release in the US as of today. A tragic love story set at the turn of the millennium in Milan. The film follows the fall of the haute bourgeoisie due to the forces of passion and unconditional love.
Director Luca Guadagnino is a fan of John Adams conceiving the film with Adams' music in mind. He also turned his collaborators into fans, including Swinton.
"When I first worked on the script, I wasn’t acquainted with John Adams. Then in 2005, a friend brought to me a CD of Adams' 'Naive and Sentimental Music.' I came home and the second the music came out of the stereo, it was an emotion I will always remember. There was something incredibly new but also familiar and then I became obsessed." - Luca Guadagnino
Rather than compose music specifically for the film, this project went in reverse. Adams music was used as an influence in creating the film, often using the music during the filming process. The composer gave his blessing for the filmmakers to use his music and saw the film in a rough-cut version in London last year.
"It's strange to hear your own music used in a context you didn't create," said Adams. "It's kind of disorienting at first and it takes some time to get used to it." He is pleased with the film overall as it made excellent use of his music.
"I Am Love" features a variety of Adams' compositions including "The Chairman Dances", "Century Rolls," "Fearful Symmetries," "Light over Water," "Shaker Loops," "Lollapalooza" and the Desert Chorus from the opera "The Death of Klinghoffer."