What is Luca Guadagnino adding to his extended cut of A Bigger Splash?

The director's cut, titled An Even Bigger Splash, will restore 70 minutes of footage cut from the film. To what effect?


Charles Bramesco


Luca Guadagnino is having what Hollywood insiders call “a moment,” which is what you say when more than one thing happens to a famous person at a single time. The Italian filmmaker brought his talents to the States for the first time in his teen cannibal drama Bones And All, now approaching release with well-received festival berths in Venice and New York, and he’s kept his PR momentum rolling by announcing an unexpected project sure to stir his growing fanbase.

In an interview with Variety published over the weekend, one offhanded line mentions that Guadagnino teased his upcoming tennis romance Challengers (in which Zendaya is caught between champions Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor) as well as an extended cut of his 2015 film A Bigger Splash titled, perfectly, An Even Bigger Splash. The three-hour-plus version, which adds 70 minutes to the run time of the original, first played at Göteborg Film Festival earlier this year. But the diehards-only director’s rework will soon be available far and wide with a proper release, though whether that will be in brick-and-mortar cinemas or streaming channels online has yet to be seen.

For those with fond memories of the sexy, luxuriant thriller inspired in part by Jacques Deray’s  1969 film La Piscine, this is a surprising treat, though it does pose the question of what missing pieces needed to be restored in the first place. The film — a love-crossed quartet between convalescing rock star Tilda Swinton, her man Matthias Schoenaerts, her ex Ralph Fiennes, and his daughter Dakota Johnson in tow  — thrives on suggestion and intimation, leaving ambiguity in key questions of who slept with whom or who witnessed which murder.

The most underdeveloped aspect of the script was its subtextual counterpoint involving North African immigrants making the perilous trip across the Mediterranean to underscore the solipsism and moral corrosion of the main characters, though it’s unclear whether that would benefit more from expansion or scaling back. Perhaps a decisive move in either direction would do the trick; this is the sort of hot button one pushes or doesn’t.

Guadagnino’s melodrama of jealousy and regret plays out under a hot, lazy summer sun, its rays beating down in afternoons spent lounging poolside until it’s time for dinner and dancing. It’s a vibe the characters wish they could live in forever, and an extended cut would service our same yearning to keep the hangout going for as long as possible. Maybe they can fit another Rolling Stones karaoke sesh in there.

A release date for An Even Bigger Splash has yet to be set.

Published 3 Oct 2022

Tags: Dakota Johnson Luca Guadagnino Matthias Schoenaerts Ralph Fiennes Tilda Swinton

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