vrijdag 24 juni 2011

Suspiria (1977)

I have no idea where to begin. Should I admit this is my first time screening Suspiria? Blegh, I just did. I have no excuse for postponing these kind of unearthly cinema while watching unbearable crap instead like 'Zombie Undead' and 'The Strangers'. Blame it on ignorance, maybe a slight hand of stupidity, but the most important thing is: I finally did it...and I loved it.

Glad I got that out of the way. I'm not an Argento know-not, neither am I an expert when it comes to his work. I've seen Tenebre and his MoH entries. I also own quite a few of his films on dvd, merely used to catch dust untill last night! It kept me wide awake and unbelievably psyched from the very first to the very last minute.
Argento blew me away. It might just be the best looking film of the (late) seventies. I'm not sure since Hausu (also from 1977) impressed me just as much. Lets just go with best colours then. Because that's the main selling point, at least for me it was. I loved looking at this film, nothing else seemed to matter but the many different vibes Argento sends out.

It all started at the airport, where we meet the American ballet-student 'Susy'. Argento immediatly shows us different interesting angles, varying from close-ups and POV shots. Once Susy enters the rainy streets, the vibe turns 180 degrees. The sudden change of mood makes it feel very surreal. It's something that will happen very often in Suspiria, you'll be kept on the edge of your seat throughout the entire film.
The real magic happens once Susy arrives at the academy. We're immediatly confronted with odd occurences and a murder takes place on the day of her arrival. She saw the victim on the rainy night, looking confused and mumbling a few 'random' words. It's part of the horror that will taunt this academy and mostly Susy. It's in full contrast with the way Argento shows us the academy.

Red, blue, green...they were never quite involved this much ever before. It determines the vibe for every part individualy, but it might also change a few times within the same scene. He mixes things up as he observes everything from up close or from a save distance. It has a very surreal feeling and it has its own kind of suspense to it. Dream-like, you might say. It's something unpredictable and it feels like everything is a thread. I just can't quite figure it out.
The acting can come off as...well, just horrible. Yet I couldn't think of a better way to make the acting add more to the entire look and feel of the film. It's deranged, just like the story is. Even though I couldn't care too much about it. It's best to sit back and have it come as an 'experience' and not so much a study. That's why I enjoyed it so much, he's never a pretentious storyteller..he's making film as an art.

Argento shows us every corner of the academy with great style. He's patience enough even though the playtime is quite short. It never felt like he wasted a second of his time. I read he intended the students to be around the age of 12 rather than 20, but the filmstudio didn't coop with that as it would surely be banned. I'm having a hard time imagining this film with 12 year olds but I have the feeling it wouldn't have been this succesfull in the end.

I can go on and on about this film just because it's worth it. A huge suprise, even though my expectations were always kinda high. With an ending to die for, colours that make you jizz and...so...so much more. It's a true masterpiece.

Score: 98/100


Anoniem zei

Shame on you for not mentioning the soundtrack. Goblin gives this film at least half of its mood, especially during some of the key scenes. I'm totally with you on the colours and angles of this film though. I've never quite seen anything like it. Save perhaps for Profondo Rosso. Very surreal en dreamlike.

TonyT zei

Haha you are so right! There's almost no excuse for not mentioning the soundtrack. I actually think it's one of the best I've ever heard. But I'll be giving it the attention it deserves somewhere in the future when I've seen all of Argento's work. Some sort off soundtrack special ;)

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