This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
gal pacino’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
out of all the gruesome, unforgettable images whirling around in my head after seeing Suspiria on halloween, i keep coming back to this offhand comment made by dr. klemperer. it's a bit difficult to tell if his, "Ah, Lacan!" is sneering or impressed, if the doctor rejects or regards the controversial french psychologist's work. either way, there is definite validity in applying it to the film, especially since directer luca guadagnino comes from an academic background.
so let's talk film theory, ladies and germs! i have a cinema studies degree and i swear to god i'm gonna use it for something!
Lacan's theory of the "mirror stage" refers to the moment that infants begin to recognize themselves in the mirror, usually between the ages of six to eighteen months. they begin to have a sense of their own identity in relation to others around them, creating their own "imago." in other words, it is this moment when our consciousness identifies that there is a difference between the Real (our physical self) and the Specular (our ideal self). lacan theorizes that we then spend the rest of our lives desiring to become a unified self again, as we were before the mirror stage.
if lacan suggests that the ideal self is reflected in the mirror, then the ideal body is the one laying on the floor of that mirrored room. grotesquely contorted, bones sharply imprinting against bruised skin, soul unequivocally given to the dance. many would perceive this heap of rotting, soiled flesh as revolting, the antithesis to the ideal. to mother suspiriorum, it's a captivating coalescence of carrion. it's beautiful.
yes, yes, it's beautiful.