Luca Guadagnino stars Zendaya in sports and erotic drama Challengerswhich revealed itself in a first trailer.
From his second film, Melissa P., Luca Guadagnino was interested in the staging of romance and sexuality. Later, by directing the trilogy of desire, he established himself as a great erotic director: it is moreover with the third opus, Call Me by Your Name, that he achieved international fame. A theme he explored again, but from a horrifying angle this time, in the cannibal Bones and All. The film had won the Silver Lion for Best Director at the 2022 Venice Film Festival (as well as the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Hope for its actress Taylor Russell).
One more consecration for Luca Guadagnino, who will return less than a year later with a new project: the drama Challengers. If the director is on familiar ground with this love triangle, it is however his first sports film. We are therefore curious to see how the balance will be maintained between these two genres, and we can already guess it in the trailer for Challengers.
Y tu zendaya también
In ChallengersZendaya plays a tennis player-turned-coach, Tashi, who decides to focus on the career of her husband, Art. The story seems to alternate between two distinct temporalities. First, we will discover Tashi’s adolescence, and his complex relationship with friends Art (Mike Faist) and Patrick (Josh O’Connor). Then, years later, the intrigue will culminate with a summit match between the two former friends.
To tell this erotic thriller, the director has found his excellent cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, who has already filmed Call Me by Your Name and his Suspiria. Surprisingly, it’s finally in the brief sports sequences that we detect their most radical staging ideas so far: slow motion, bubble frames, computer-generated tennis balls projected straight at the camera, and even a shot that literally adopts the perspective of a ball. If the scenario does not seem to be overflowing with imagination for the moment, the photography of Mukdeeprom will therefore surely be worth a look.
Battle of the Sexes
However, we also see some sexy scenes, which have become their trademark; the sensuality is heightened in these images by the song S&M by Rihanna. This musical choice and the rhythm of the editing give this trailer a very pop aspect, which stands out somewhat from the distribution campaigns of the director’s previous feature films. Call Me by Your Name And Bones & All rather relied on their author aesthetics.
Perhaps it is a desire on the part of MGM to convince a wider audience, after the disappointing box office scores of Bones & All ? At any rate, Challengers will unfortunately not be released in cinemas in France. To find out, it will suffice to have Prime Video, from fall 2023.
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Challengers: a sexy trailer for the love triangle with Zendaya