LFF 2018 Preview - Suspiria
Dir: Luca Guadagnino
Starring Dakota Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper
So, Luca Guadagnino has managed to add a full hour to his remake of Dario Argento’s classic. AND turn Tilda Swinton into a man!
So how does it hang?
Well, depends on how you feel about contemporary interpretive dance. Or said dance schools being the province of covens of witches.
Guadagnino’s remake – or “reimagining” if you will – is set in 1977. Why? Because that was the year that Argento released his original. But also because it allows the director to play out a somewhat botched but extended political metaphor against a Baader Meinhoff plane hijacking, that constantly runs in the background, and brings him closer to holocaust victims of the Second World War, ideas that he chooses to juxtapose with his witches, playing the card how witchcraft in its own – distinctly idiosyncratic - way relates to modern terrorism, and former acts of political oppression and annihilation. Both in its execution and the victims thereof.
On top of that, he gets to have his dance classes inspired by the work of Pina Busch. All of which just seems to add to his own incredible sense of self indulgence – something that more than anything informs this really unnecessary remake.
This is a movie awash in pretension – and little else. Having Tilda Swinton play the head of the dance academy – and the aged male psychiatrist (under layers of make up) investigating her (and at least one other – who knows? She could be Dakota Johnson as well!) adds nothing thematically, and amounts to little more than stunt casting of the most pointless kind.
And speaking of the rest of the cast – as a dancer, Dakota Johnson gets to writhe around on camera. But hang on – isn’t that all she’s ever done?
To Guadagnino’s credit there are moments and certain visuals that are exquisite – but they never move beyond the single moment they are captured in.
And as horror movies go – well, it’s no Suspiria (1977.) The only horrifying thing here is the running time. Oh, and did we mention it’s boring? Really boring.
Suspiria plays the LFF on 16, 17 & 19 October
More info @ www.bfi.org.uk/lff
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