A Bigger Splash (2015)

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German title A bigger splash
Original title A bigger splash
Country of production France , Italy
original language English , Italian
Publishing year 2015
length 124 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
JMK 14
Director Luca Guadagnino
script David Kajganich
production Michael Costigan ,
Luca Guadagnino
camera Yorick Le Saux
cut Walter Fasano

A Bigger Splash is an Italian - French erotic - thriller by Italian director Luca Guadagnino . The film premiered on September 6, 2015 at the Venice Biennale .


The film is set on the Italian island of Pantelleria near Sicily. Rock star Marianne Lane has just had vocal cord surgery and is recovering with her lover Paul in an inland villa. The couple spends time by the swimming pool, in the mud of Specchio di Venere ( Italian for the mirror of Venus ) or by the sea. Marianne is strictly forbidden to speak, but she communicates with Paul alone by whispering. Paul is also battered, he is a dry alcoholic, has just undergone rehab, and a suicide attempt has failed.

Marianne's former lover Harry suddenly breaks into the Mediterranean togetherness and announces his arrival from the plane, whose dark shadow flits over the couple like a harbinger of doom. Harry is Marianne's former manager, together they made a career, coke together and lived an intense life. Towards the end of their relationship, he had introduced her to Paul, passed her on to him, so to speak. Harry greets the couple at the airport in a loud and hyperactive manner. In tow he has a blonde "Lolita", his daughter, whose existence he himself was unknown until recently. Harry and daughter settle in with Paul and Marianne, who are not enthusiastic. From now on he unabashedly dominates the scene with his vitality, ruthlessness and volume. Dressed or naked, but always with a roar and fountains of water ( a bigger splash ), he jumps into the pool, indulges in well-known stories about his glorious time with the Stones and lugs acquaintances from earlier days on the island.

It quickly becomes clear to those involved that Harry wants his former lover back. An explosive constellation is brewing: Harry, who cannot keep his eyes and hands off his former wife, but at the same time gives his little daughter Penelope little paternal affection; Penelope, lascivious and always barely dressed, who visibly tries to seduce Paul and with whom she eventually disappears to the Laghetto dello Ondine - what happens there remains hidden from the viewer; Finally Marianne, who, the more she plays out her prescribed taciturnity, the more expressive her body language becomes, and Paul, who is almost as mute, caught in his depression, in whom jealousy and aggression gradually build up, which one day unload in a dogged swimming competition with Harry . While Paul and Penelope take their time to go home to the villa, Marianne and Harry are also on their way. Harry uses his insider knowledge: you taste fresh ricotta at a farmer's, shop like an old married couple and dance high-spirited in a karaoke bar, where the old passion seems to flare up again in her too. But when Harry gets intrusive, he flashes off Marianne - for good.

When the two couples get together at the dinner table, suspicions and suspicions hang in the air and the atmosphere is explosive. The quarrel between the two men that started early in the morning at the pool escalates into a life-and-death fight in which Harry finally sinks dead to the bottom of the pool. The carabinieri arrive, the location of the "accident" is examined, the three witnesses are called to the police station for interrogation. The Maresciallo in charge of investigating the case shows only half-hearted interest in the drowned man from the mansion. He has other worries: the sea has once again washed up the bodies of migrants. The three witnesses can go and leave the country.


The film is loosely based on the 1969 film The Swimming Pool by Jacques Deray with Alain Delon as Jean-Paul and Romy Schneider as Marianne. With this film Romy Schneider finally said goodbye to her Sissi image and started her second career as a film actress.

The title is a reference to David Hockney's picture A Bigger Splash from 1967. The picture is one of a series of swimming pool pictures by the painter. While most of these pictures show a pool with a naked man, often seen from behind, here the presence of a person is only indicated by the water fountain in the pool, the splash .


The film was shot in around eight weeks. The location was the island of Pantelleria in the Strait of Sicily . Locations were u. a. the volcanic lake Specchio di Venere ( Mirror of Venus ) and the Laghetto delle Ondine . Marianne Lane's concert was filmed in the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in Milan during a concert by Italian rock star Jovanotti , in consultation with him and with the loud participation of 70,000 visitors.


Track list

  1. Observatory Crest - Captain Beefheart
  2. Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - Robert Mitchum
  3. Black Silk Stocking - Chrisma
  4. Jump Into The Fire - Nilsson
  5. Moon Is Up - The Rolling Stones
  6. Heaven - The Rolling Stones
  7. “Dal labbro il canto estasiato vola” - From the opera Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi , with Daniil Shtoda, Dorothea Röschmann, Adrianne Pieczonka, Larissa Diadkova, Stella Doufexis, the Berliner Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado
  8. St. Vincent - Ensemble Phoenix Basel
  9. Okanagon - Ensemble Phoenix Basel
  10. Aguirre I (L'acrime Di Rei) - Popol Vuh
  11. Emotional Rescue - The Rolling Stones


A Bigger Splash ran in Venice in 2015 in the competition for the Golden Lion , earned a lot of whistles and won the Soundtrack Stars Award.

Guadagnino to A Bigger Splash

“I had the vision of a film about love, beauty, desire, sex, sexuality and the danger of a former lover who, through his presence and actions, can provoke destructive reactions and evoke the past of our protagonists. By releasing this past, our individuals are drawn into their true selves and get caught in a tangled nexus of sex and burning desire that pushes them to a dark side. I see it as a totally modern relationship drama. "

“As I pondered the main theme of this film - regret, lost love, jealousy - the subversive quirks of Hockney's 1960s came to mind. In the splash itself there is the moment of rupture in reality, you don't know what happened before and what will happen next. This has a lot to do with the kinetic energy created in the sexual act. That's exactly what I wanted in my film. So I felt it was important that the film title was the same as that of the masterpiece of this master artist, Hockney. "

“This film is in theory a remake of La Piscine , but in reality it pays homage to Roberto Rosselini's 1954 film Journey to Italy , starring Ingrid Bergman . Bergman was a real diva and we wanted Marianne to be such a diva. "


The international criticism unanimously praised the achievements of the four main actors, primarily Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton. At Rotten Tomatoes , the film achieved a rate of 90%.

Christy Lemire writes in Roger Ebert Reviews that Guadagnino has once again proven to be a master. At the same time great and sensational, opulent and surprising, A Bigger Splash never goes as one would expect, even if the underlying danger is noticeable from the start. Guadagnino achieved a wonderful and balanced representation of its excellent actors, including the cheeky and grandiose performance of Ralph Fiennes. What Fiennes is doing here feels like jazz itself: physical and rustic, annoying and weird alike, he manages to make an annoying, exhausting guy thoroughly entertaining. Cinematographer Yorick Le Saux lavishly staged the protagonists when they bask in the sun and swarm in and out of the pool, which turns out to be more and more fatal as the film progresses.

The taz critic pays tribute to the “outstanding actors” […], “who provide their characters with so many dimensions that every change of glance, every meaningful bowed head, every casually twitching shoulder grows into a little drama.” With the surprising final phase, he said Film is a turning point that firmly anchors the film in the present so that you feel caught as a viewer. " A Bigger Splash laconically shows the common instrumentalisation of refugees, from the news background to the threatening backdrop to the welcome scapegoat".

Anthony Lane , the New Yorker's film critic , is full of praise for the film itself, the beauty and intensity of its images, and the performance and pagan sensuality of Ralph Fiennes. “Not that we have to do without sex. The main characters have him, argue, or joke about him, and any combination of carnal union seems worth exploring. In short, Luca Guadagnino created something very rare and unsettling, a genuinely pagan film ( genuinely pagan film ). He not only enjoys nudity, male or female, but it is the classic view of people in the landscape and of the earth itself that demands feverish admiration. That's why Harry, who played an LP by the Rolling Stones at the beginning, begins to dance to Emotional Rescue and then - tied up inside - he almost explodes, jumps on the roof and continues his show under a glowing haze ( scorching haze ). Who would have thought that anywhere in the world an Englishman would turn out to be such a natural Dionysian . "

Thomas Sontinel, the critic of Le Monde , feels reminded of the imagery of another Italian master director, of Michelangelo Antonioni . It is astonishing to discover an original and powerful ( puissant ) film in a film that has melted together like an amalgam of heterogeneous elements , which unfolds over the erotic games of a quartet of Néoaristocrats and is saturated with a restlessness that comes from across the sea come

In Italy, however, the criticism reacted very disgruntled, in particular to the portrayal of the migrant problem and the Maresciallo, which served too much foreign prejudice. He looks like a nettle to Italians, but he can certainly amuse an international audience.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for A Bigger Splash . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry (PDF). Template: FSK / maintenance / type set and Par. 1 longer than 4 characters
  2. Age rating for A Bigger Splash . Youth Media Commission .
  3. ^ David Hockney, The bigger splash, 1967, Tate Britain. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  4. A Bigger Splash , Trivia. IMDb
  5. IndieWire
  6. CinecittàNews, September 11, 2015, accessed on August 27, 2016.
  7. In Conversation with Director Luca Guadagnino on new film A Bigger Splash Aesthetica Short Film Festival, City of York, 2015, accessed September 18, 2016
  8. a b quoted from Hannah Lack: Luca Guadagnino on the Inspiration Behind A Bigger Splash. In: AnOther Magazine , February 12, 2016, accessed September 18, 2016.
  9. ^ Rotten Tomatoes, A Bigger Splash.Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  10. ^ Roger Ebert Reviews , accessed August 27, 2016.
  11. Movie "A Bigger Splash" - Every look a drama in: taz.de, accessed on August 24, 2016.
  12. Emotional Rescue, youtube
  13. Anthony Lane: On the Rocks. In: The New Yorker, May 9, 2016 , accessed August 24, 2016.
  14. Thomas Sontinel: "A Bigger Splash": quatuor perverse sur île volcanique . In: Le Monde , ed.Global, April 5, 2016, accessed August 27, 2016.
  15. Simona Santoni in: Panorama.it accessed on August 27, 2016.