Suspiria is a horror film “about horror”, director Luca Guadagnino declared as Amazon Studios’ film premiered at the Venice Film Festival this weekend.
The remake of the Dario Argento classic, which takes place in a dance school in period Berlin, is a visually stunning, disturbingly wild ride, one that has partly polarised audiences at the festival. The press conference for the premiere, though, was a cheerful affair, with Guadagnino joined by stars Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, all of whom were in playful moods.
The film is “about horror”, the Call Me By Your Name director commented.
“It’s about the horror in interpersonal relationships, about horror in femininity, and horror in history,” he explained. “What was the next question – Is it a horror movie?”
He also spoke about the intense choreography throughout the picture.
“Dance wasn’t just dance, but was instead used as a character, as a language – in this case, the language of the transcendence of magic,” he commented.
Part of the mood of the picture is established by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, who composed the haunting soundtrack. He wasn’t able to reference the soundtrack of Argento’s original, he noted, but said he was intrigued by the Italian group Goblin’s use of repetition in the score – and that he turned to Krautrock, experimental rock from 70s Germany, for inspiration.
Dakota Johnson corrected questions about media reports that she had therapy after the movie, with honesty and a sense of humour.
“First of all, I was not psychoanalyzed, and I hope I never will be,” she answered. “I’m a very porous person, and I absorb a lot of people’s feelings. And sometimes when you work on a dark subject matter, it can stay with you. And to talk to somebody really nice about it afterwards is really comforting, and my therapist is a very nice woman.”
“It was the most fun and the most exhilarating and the most enjoyable that it could be,” she said of the filming. “So it’s not like I ended up in a psych ward afterwards. I just had a lot of feelings!”
Of Guadagnino, whom she worked with on A Bigger Splash, she said: “We know each other well. I feel I’m able to do anything in his hands. The film is about things I love: dancers, witches, magic. I grew up loving those things. And groups of women. To have this sort of inside look at those things was perfect. This was truly a dream come true project for me.”
Swinton, meanwhile, addressed questions about whether she was actually Lutz Edersdorf – the actor named as playing therapist Jozef Klemperer in the film, despite the purportedly 82-year-old from Munich not appearing in any other films. She did so by reading a statement from Edersdorf, which said he didn’t intend to act again.
“To the esteemed ladies and gentlemen of the press, I am very sorry not to be able to greet you in person, I am a private individual who prefers to remain private,” she read. “To quote Dr Klemperer: ‘The illusion that is the handwork of my colleagues is not mine’.”
When asked directly if she played Dr Klemperer as well as dance teacher Madame Blanc, Swinton stated to a laughing room: “As you will see from the credits and on all the posters, Dr Klemperer is played by Lutz Ebersdorf who sent a message that I read just now.”
When asked if a campaign would take place for Lutz’s consideration this awards season, Swinton added: “I hope.”P