Suspiria ★★★★½

Christ, can this even be considered a remake? What the hell was it even remaking?

What holds the dancers captive in the Academy? In the original Suspiria, it’s the Academy itself. The Academy’s setting in the original is so abstract in comparison to this. Where the Academy exists is communicated only by exposition. There are no visual indicators, no way to distinguish where it lies in relation to the outside world. There is only inside the Academy, and outside the Academy, with no sense of how it operates financially or the geopolitical and socioeconomic landscape that surrounds it. And the Academy itself also happens to be evil. The evil is in its walls. It’s a live prison that consumes any of its boarders who try to escape. The dancers never leave the Academy under any circumstances during any time of the day. As soon as they enter its doors they never come out. But why is it the girls never seek to flee here?

We understand the importance of a woman’s financial autonomy.

Susie nearly cries to learn that she will not owe boarding fees at the Academy. Klemperer is eager to share with her that the Academy can be her home at no costs, and there’s seemingly no catch. She’s able to exit the building at will, maintain relationships with those in the outside. The Berlin setting is made evidently clear here with shots through windows from the inside showing exactly where they are in relation to the outside in clear view, right in front of and Berlin wall, a hammer and sickle painted in full view. The geopolitical landscape is laid bare. An allusion of choice is present but nobody is actually leaving this place. Klemperer preaches financial autonomy but she knows full well these girls have nowhere to go. In an economically desperate city, at what point does free boarding become an unfair deal?

This abstract feeling of being trapped even when you aren’t explicitly being held hostage is paralleled against the German reich.

You had years to get your wife out of this city before the arrests were made.

At what point do you leave? When is it evident your stability is a lie? It’s easy to retroactively tell a person when they should have left a situation, but given the information they had available at the time, it’s much harder to tell them where they should’ve gone. In the original it’s taken for granted there is a place waiting for you outside the academy’s walls, escaping itself is the challenge to overcome, not finding a place to go when you’re out. The level of uncertainty as one questions what level of personal safety they’re willing to risk when given the illusion that they’re the ones choosing to be where they are can be unbearable.

[I’m exhausted right now and I’ve been typing this on my phone. I’ll come back to finish these thoughts later]

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