This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Jennifer’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I’ve never had a better rewatch than this. I already loved the film but this just become an all time favorite for me. I’m obsessed with it and how it makes me feel in all of its beauty and insanity. When I first watched this I was absolutely terrified, constantly covering my eyes. This time around I didn’t look away once. And strangely I wasn’t scared. I was just in awe, transfixed. And I noticed so many things I hadn’t before and the importance of key aspects (like the continued plane jacking references and the doctor) clicked for me. Anyway, gonna use this space to offer up my analysis as best as I can, cause I have to get it out.
“I want to start work on a new piece. A piece about rebirths. The inevitable pull that they exert and our efforts to escape them.” That’s exactly right. The film is a rebirth on several levels, of Mother Suspirium, of Susie, of the coven, of Germany, and of the original film. There is a desire on all these ends to move forward to something new and beautiful. Yet there are people resisting, causing immense hurt and destruction.
Susie is, I feel from the beginning, a reincarnation of Mother Suspirium. She doesn’t realize it right away, just feels a connection and pull towards the dances, academy, and Blanc (which Blanc immediately shares). But as her time there goes on she fully becomes aware of herself and her purpose (“I know who I am!”), and eventually fully and freely relinquishes the human/Susie parts of herself. And in such a euphoric and sensual manner. She’s there to restore the coven, which has become evil, sick, and built on the lies of a false prophet.
I don’t see her as a wicked being (or as her real mother calls her a “sin”) at all, rather a savior. She offers kindness and pity to the innocent and suffering (Sara, Olga, & Patricia) and exacts revenge for those who worshipped a false and evil deity (Markos) instead of embracing new, reasonable change (in the form of Blanc).
And the doctor, as far as I can tell, is symbolic of the older generation, still broken by WWII, its atrocities, & their complacency. His guilt and inaction (then and now) is preventing the new generation (aka Patricia & the radicals she’s involved with) from moving forward. When Suspirium allows him to forget, she’s freeing the country from its past and guilt over the war.
So really to me the whole story is ultimately about letting go of the past and embracing something new, beautiful, scrary, truthful, and wild in its place. And damn it’s so enjoyable and fitting that within the film women are giving birth to all these changes and regularly act as sources of comfort to one another. Motherhood is such a powerful thing, huh?