Suspiria

Suspiria ★★★★

We're dancing with our minds.

I'm utterly confounded by this movie. It's bold, absurd to the core, quite campy at times, and somehow deeply sad underneath it all. The climax is an existential nightmare, and the subsequent epilogue is, by contrast, quietly devastating. It's designed to rattle, shock, and disturb, and veers THIS close to being all flash and no substance, and yet there is a beating, passionate heart underneath it all. We see what art must be under fascism -- demented, painful, and utterly robbed of joy. It's a deeply upsetting outcome, and yet the film revels in artistic expression, pointing to the catharsis and the release that art -- even at its most demented, painful, and joyless -- can bring us.

There's something paradoxical about it all. I have talked time and time again about how the line between horror and comedy is VERY blurred. The same event can be hilarious or horrifying depending on the perspective from which it is presented. This truth is alive and well in Suspiria. My friends and I laughed aloud multiple times throughout the film, even when it was at its most disturbing. Not because we weren't taking the film seriously, but because... there's something intrinsically sickly funny about the aggressively, subversively wicked gore Guadagnino delivers.

Through all of that lavishly celebrated art and undercurrent of sadness and almost-but-not-quite black comedy and unapologetic strangeness about the vast majority of the directorial choices made here, I kind of just have to embrace the film for what it is. I definitely have some conflicting feelings, but Christ: How do I say no to this delightful insanity?

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