Written by Mary Kluck

June is Pride month, and San Francisco has long been a haven for LGBTQ individuals. It’s no surprise, then, that the first movie night of the 2019 Symphony season featured director Luca Guadagnino’s Oscar winning adaption of “Call Me By Your Name”. An excited, well dressed, and diverse crowd lined up outside Davies Symphony Hall on Tuesday evening June 18. Many in attendance were symphony regulars, but nearly as many were not. That’s the beauty of movie nights at the Symphony – the ability to bring people from all backgrounds together for a shared experience. And it was quite an experience.

In an incredibly fitting homage to the celebrations around the world this month, George Stelluto led the packed hall through a magical cinematic evening. The film, “Call Me By Your Name”, takes the viewer on a ride through beautiful northern Italian summer in 1983. 17 year- old American, Elio (Timothee Chalamet) lazes around his family’s villa – transcribing Bach – until he’s interrupted by the arrival of his father’s intern, 24 year – old graduate student Oliver (Armie Hammer). Stelluto’s orchestra acted as a third person narrator. My eyes were rapt on the screen, and then I realized that the dramaticized moment was directly a result from the amazing people playing music, live on stage. Their accompaniment managed to both expand the obvious moments of tension between Elio and Oliver and underscore the subtle interactions between the eventual lovers. Their work played beautifully into the movie, without stealing the scene, but of course who would expect anything less of San Francisco’s most beloved and talented orchestra. 

During the brief intermission, I overheard several conversation snippets from fans, all raving about the magnetic performance including, “Even though I’ve seen this movie ten times, it so totally different”, “This would make a great date”, “Why haven’t I been here before”. Conductor George Stelluto was just magnificent guiding the orchestra through each nuance and emotional impact that flowed from the big screen and was brought to life by the musicians. His leadership created an inclusive evening for the varied attendees young and old, lovers and families, and enhanced the brilliant work by James Ivory’s screenplay. No one got up to leave after the final credits rolled and clearly no one wanted the evening to end. It was another epic feet for movie lovers and fans of the Symphony. 

To readers – seek out an opportunity to attend the next movie night with the SF Symphony, it’s an experience you’ll be glad you had! 

For more info on SF Symphony go to:  www.sfsymphony.org