The domes of La Chiesa di Cristo Salvatore, Santa Caterina Martire e San Serafino di Sarov (Church of Christ the Savior, St. Catherine the Martyr and St. Serafin de Sarov) are its most beautiful and distinctive attributes. They featured fleetingly in the 2009 movie Io Sono L’amore (I am Love), whose heroine, Emma Recchi (Tilda Swinton) passes the church enroute to an unexpected – and life-changing – encounter with her son’s best friend.
The movie’s main theme, that of identity and self, finds expression in a number of key scenes. Recchi, Russian by birth, has lost her cultural identity in a cold and sexless marriage to an Italian plutocrat: “When I moved to Milan, I learned to be Italian.”
As she walks through Sanremo, she looks up to the roof of the Russian church, and a shaft of sunlight breaks through from behind the domes. This prefigures the coming plot point at which Recchi meets the man who will awaken yet other aspects of her self, cut her hair, and cook for her a peculiarly revolting (and deadly) fish soup.