Suspiria director Luca Guadagnino on cinema of extremes, and collaborating with Tilda Swinton
Suspiria will have its world premiere at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on 1 September, 2018
Luca Guadagnino’s last film Call Me By Your Name was a coming-of-age tale of a gay couple; his next, Suspiria, a reimagining of Dario Argento’s 1977 horror movie of the same name, reminisces of the time when he used to watch the film as a 14-year old.
In an interview with Variety, Luca Guadagnino said that he started nestling a sense of obsession with the realm of horror after looking at a poster of the film at the age of 11 and then later, watching it.
A lover of the cinema of extremes, Guadagnino was inspired by Argento's interest in forms and surface of things as well as German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's films. He said that his effort was to make a film which was rooted in horror, and yet develop holistic characters and interactions.
In Guadagnino's remake, the colour palette, dwelling mostly in the shades of black, white and grey, is a departure from Dario's primary colour scheme. The filmmaker justifies his choice of colours as inspired by Fassbinder as well as from many artists in the ’70s, from Joseph Beuys to Balthus, which aided in the creation of the mood and the world for the film.
Luca's adaptation of Suspiria elaborates on the dance element of the film, including a six-minute avant garde dance sequence, which he says was a deliberate inclusion on his part. He said, "I am in awe of Dario’s film, but if I had to make a very simple and slight critique of it, it’s that for a movie about an academy of ballet, you don’t see a lot of dance. It’s almost non-present in the film."
Both the screenwriter David Kajganich and Luca wanted dance to be a protagonist in Suspiria, to transmit the idea of magic through dance. For this, he approached Belgian choreographer, Damien Jalet, who had created “Les Medusées” inspired by Dario Argento’s Suspiria.
Dance, he says, was not an element of prettiness. Quoting the character Madame Blanc, he adds, "Dance is about breaking the neck, breaking every kind of prettiness in things, and it comes with brutality."
On his collaboration with Tilda Swinton for the fourth time, after The Protagonists, The Love Factory and I Am Love, he underscored the actress's indispensability in the film. "There was no other person that could deliver this but Tilda, because I trust her and we had fun doing that."
The supernatural horror film will see an ensemble cast consisting of Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia Goth, Lutz Ebersdorf and Jessica Harper, who was also in the original film in the lead role; it has Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke composing the score.
Suspiria will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, after which it will be theatrically released in Los Angeles and New York on 26 October for a limited time. The film will hit the screens worldwide on 2 November.
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