DANCERS IN THE DARK

Luca guadagnino’s “cover ver­sion” of sus­piria wants to put you un­der its spell...

SFX - - Halloween - Will Salmon Sus­piria is out on 16 Novem­ber.

Re­makes are hard to pull off – es­pe­cially when they’re based on films as iconic as Sus­piria. Os­carnom­i­nated di­rec­tor Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) was un­de­terred how­ever. he’s been plan­ning to re­make dario ar­gento’s hor­ror clas­sic for a very long time it turns out.

Guadagnino first crossed paths with the film when he was just 10 years old and saw its strik­ing poster. “I didn’t know what it was about, but the im­age was so pow­er­ful,” Guadagnino says. “That’s how I dis­cov­ered Sus­piria, and it forged one of my pri­mary iden­ti­ties, both as a film­maker and a man.” It would be an­other three years be­fore he got to see the film.

The plot re­mains largely the same as the orig­i­nal. susie (dakota John­son) joins a pres­ti­gious dance com­pany in 1970s Ger­many, quickly grow­ing close to the mys­te­ri­ous madame Blanc (Tilda swin­ton). her rise, how­ever, seems to pre­cip­i­tate sin­is­ter events and an­other dancer ac­cuses the group’s “moth­ers” of be­ing witches.

although she hadn’t seen the orig­i­nal when she was cast, John­son was im­me­di­ately at­tracted to the project. “I love dance movies, I love movies about women and the push and pull be­tween them, and I love films about witch­craft,” she says. she found the in­cred­i­ble chore­og­ra­phy pun­ish­ing, how­ever, with one par­tic­u­lar scene end­ing with the ac­tress in hos­pi­tal. “I threw my back out re­ally badly... I felt like I had tossed my torso from my legs. It’s not del­i­cate work … you’re be­ing re­ally rough with your­self, and be­hav­ing like a pro­fes­sional dancer when you’re not.”

While the story re­mains the same, the look and feel have evolved into some­thing very dif­fer­ent. Where the orig­i­nal was set in Freiburg, the new film

moves the ac­tion to bustling Ber­lin, still feel­ing the af­ter-ef­fects of the se­cond World War. For that rea­son, ar­gento’s psy­che­delic colour pal­ette has been swapped for more muted vi­su­als that owes a debt to Ger­man cinema of the pe­riod. Like­wise, the spine-tin­gling score by Gob­lin is gone, re­placed by a sound­track from ra­dio­head’s Thom Yorke.

Tilda swin­ton says the ef­fect of all these changes is akin to a “cover ver­sion” of the orig­i­nal. “as we know in mu­sic, cov­ers of­ten sound very dif­fer­ent from the orig­i­nal song,” she says. The new Sus­piria isn’t in­tended to re­place the orig­i­nal, how­ever – it never could. In­stead, swin­ton in­sists, Guadagnino’s de­sire to make the film “comes out of a deep af­fec­tion for ar­gento’s clas­sic.”

River­dance is a lot edgier than it used to be.

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