SUSPIRIA Day 18: just susie things





Susie wearing Sara's robe after the latter's been dragged off to the Mutterhaus to be tortured is achingly sweet and absolutely horrifying in equal measure. God, I love this movie. 

SUSPIRIA Day 17: hands


There are hands everywhere in Suspiria. No matter how they are engaged, they are often shot in reverential close-ups, affording even the most mundane of tasks a kind of beauty. The gentle care given a dying mother, the cold efficiency of bureaucracy, a moment's pause at the start of a new life–there is a reverence for the everyday throughout this film full of the fantastic.




Again and again we see hands imparting tenderness. Words can be inadequate, sometimes, when we try to convey love. Instead we might offer a soft touch that carries the world. Caressing her name as if it were her sweet face years ago, a ritual to let her know she is not forgotten, that he is still here, that they are still here.




A jumble of fingers, grasping tightly, promise made and secrets kept.


Conduits for spells, spells given, spells taken, all the violence and power they cast. Art is beautiful, art is monstrous, the savior and the destroyer. Supplication and worship before the terrible judgments.









Susie's dreams are full of hands. Hands upon hands, hands within hands, echoes of the Sabbath and the Mother.




"You're in a company now. You have to find your right place. You have to decide–what is it you want to be for this company? Is it the head? The spine? The sex? The heart?"

"The hands. I want to be this company's hands."


Of course Susie wants to be the hands. Of course her dreams are full of them.

It is always difficult to navigate attraction, but it is infinitely more so for queer women. The guessing, the second-guessing, the doubling back and the doubting. The rules of straight courtship and romance don't apply. For a boy and a girl, holding hands is literally child's play. Before you do anything else, before you know there's anything else to do, you can walk hand-in-hand anywhere you please, saying "this one is mine." For queers, this simple thing carries enormous risk. A risk to personal safety. A risk of losing everything and everyone you have, because you said "this one is mine."

Hands are held in secret. A caress, a grasp, an intertwining...touching is done only when there's no one else around to see. You are mine, but only we know.

There is a parallel to be made, once again, to Carol. Hands figure prominently into the film and the novel, The Price of Salt.

"She thought of people she has seen holding hands in movies, and why shouldn't she and Carol?"








Todd Haynes, like Luca Guadagnino, is a queer filmmaker who understands the significance and weight of the barest hint of contact between two women trying to impart romantic intent in the private way they must. Every lingering touch, every hair tucked behind an ear, every line traced...even the brush of fingertips carries the hint of the erotic. For queer women, hands often double as sex organs; her hand on yours is sometimes more than just that. It's a suggestion, a hint of what could be, of what might come next. A hint of where else those fingers might go. What else these hands can do.

Susie knows this. She learned at a young age what hands can do, and once again, as ever, she was punished. The hands that caress can also bring unimaginable violence.


   
"I want to be this company's hands."


Susie takes back every bit of power her mother tried to take from her, turning abuse into motivation. Her hands bring pleasure. Why should she be punished for that?

As she has proven time and time again, Susie motherfucking Bannion is a brave one. She is not willing to keep her desires secret, no matter the risk, no matter the cost. Not satisfied with hints and guessing and doubt, she tells Blanc exactly what she wants, exactly what she is. She grabs Blanc's hands, takes them, brings them to her cheek.

This one is mine.




Again, it is an invitation. It is a question. What else can these hands do?

And again, it goes unanswered, and Susie is left alone with her thoughts.

But she knows who she is. Later, she uses those hands, those hands her mother punished her for so long ago, those hands no longer held by Sara or Blanc, to rip herself open, to make herself free.



Susie Bannion knows what hands mean, what hands can do. And she is not afraid to show you.

SUSPIRIA Day 17: hands


There are hands everywhere in Suspiria. No matter how they are engaged, they are often shot in reverential close-ups, affording even the most mundane of tasks a kind of beauty. The gentle care given a dying mother, the cold efficiency of bureaucracy, a moment's pause at the start of a new life–there is a reverence for the everyday throughout this film full of the fantastic.




Again and again we see hands imparting tenderness. Words can be inadequate, sometimes, when we try to convey love. Instead we might offer a soft touch that carries the world. Caressing her name as if it were her sweet face years ago, a ritual to let her know she is not forgotten, that he is still here, that they are still here.




A jumble of fingers, grasping tightly, promise made and secrets kept.


Conduits for spells, spells given, spells taken, all the violence and power they cast. Art is beautiful, art is monstrous, the savior and the destroyer. Supplication and worship before the terrible judgments.









Susie's dreams are full of hands. Hands upon hands, hands within hands, echoes of the Sabbath and the Mother.




"You're in a company now. You have to find your right place. You have to decide–what is it you want to be for this company? Is it the head? The spine? The sex? The heart?"

"The hands. I want to be this company's hands."


Of course Susie wants to be the hands. Of course her dreams are full of them.

It is always difficult to navigate attraction, but it is infinitely more so for queer women. The guessing, the second-guessing, the doubling back and the doubting. The rules of straight courtship and romance don't apply. For a boy and a girl, holding hands is literally child's play. Before you do anything else, before you know there's anything else to do, you can walk hand-in-hand anywhere you please, saying "this one is mine." For queers, this simple thing carries enormous risk. A risk to personal safety. A risk of losing everything and everyone you have, because you said "this one is mine."

Hands are held in secret. A caress, a grasp, an intertwining...touching is done only when there's no one else around to see. You are mine, but only we know.

There is a parallel to be made, once again, to Carol. Hands figure prominently into the film and the novel, The Price of Salt.

"She thought of people she has seen holding hands in movies, and why shouldn't she and Carol?"








Todd Haynes, like Luca Guadagnino, is a queer filmmaker who understands the significance and weight of the barest hint of contact between two women trying to impart romantic intent in the private way they must. Every lingering touch, every hair tucked behind an ear, every line traced...even the brush of fingertips carries the hint of the erotic. For queer women, hands often double as sex organs; her hand on yours is sometimes more than just that. It's a suggestion, a hint of what could be, of what might come next. A hint of where else those fingers might go. What else these hands can do.

Susie knows this. She learned at a young age what hands can do, and once again, as ever, she was punished. The hands that caress can also bring unimaginable violence.


   
"I want to be this company's hands."


Susie takes back every bit of power her mother tried to take from her, turning abuse into motivation. Her hands bring pleasure. Why should she be punished for that?

As she has proven time and time again, Susie motherfucking Bannion is a brave one. She is not willing to keep her desires secret, no matter the risk, no matter the cost. Not satisfied with hints and guessing and doubt, she tells Blanc exactly what she wants, exactly what she is. She grabs Blanc's hands, takes them, brings them to her cheek.

This one is mine.




Again, it is an invitation. It is a question. What else can these hands do?

And again, it goes unanswered, and Susie is left alone with her thoughts.

But she knows who she is. Later, she uses those hands, those hands her mother punished her for so long ago, those hands no longer held by Sara or Blanc, to rip herself open, to make herself free.



Susie Bannion knows what hands mean, what hands can do. And she is not afraid to show you.

SUSPIRIA Day 17: hands


There are hands everywhere in Suspiria. No matter how they are engaged, they are often shot in reverential close-ups, affording even the most mundane of tasks a kind of beauty. The gentle care given a dying mother, the cold efficiency of bureaucracy, a moment's pause at the start of a new life–there is a reverence for the everyday throughout this film full of the fantastic.




Again and again we see hands imparting tenderness. Words can be inadequate, sometimes, when we try to convey love. Instead we might offer a soft touch that carries the world. Caressing her name as if it were her sweet face years ago, a ritual to let her know she is not forgotten, that he is still here, that they are still here.




A jumble of fingers, grasping tightly, promise made and secrets kept.


Conduits for spells, spells given, spells taken, all the violence and power they cast. Art is beautiful, art is monstrous, the savior and the destroyer. Supplication and worship before the terrible judgments.









Susie's dreams are full of hands. Hands upon hands, hands within hands, echoes of the Sabbath and the Mother.




"You're in a company now. You have to find your right place. You have to decide–what is it you want to be for this company? Is it the head? The spine? The sex? The heart?"

"The hands. I want to be this company's hands."


Of course Susie wants to be the hands. Of course her dreams are full of them.

It is always difficult to navigate attraction, but it is infinitely more so for queer women. The guessing, the second-guessing, the doubling back and the doubting. The rules of straight courtship and romance don't apply. For a boy and a girl, holding hands is literally child's play. Before you do anything else, before you know there's anything else to do, you can walk hand-in-hand anywhere you please, saying "this one is mine." For queers, this simple thing carries enormous risk. A risk to personal safety. A risk of losing everything and everyone you have, because you said "this one is mine."

Hands are held in secret. A caress, a grasp, an intertwining...touching is done only when there's no one else around to see. You are mine, but only we know.

There is a parallel to be made, once again, to Carol. Hands figure prominently into the film and the novel, The Price of Salt.

"She thought of people she has seen holding hands in movies, and why shouldn't she and Carol?"








Todd Haynes, like Luca Guadagnino, is a queer filmmaker who understands the significance and weight of the barest hint of contact between two women trying to impart romantic intent in the private way they must. Every lingering touch, every hair tucked behind an ear, every line traced...even the brush of fingertips carries the hint of the erotic. For queer women, hands often double as sex organs; her hand on yours is sometimes more than just that. It's a suggestion, a hint of what could be, of what might come next. A hint of where else those fingers might go. What else these hands can do.

Susie knows this. She learned at a young age what hands can do, and once again, as ever, she was punished. The hands that caress can also bring unimaginable violence.


   
"I want to be this company's hands."


Susie takes back every bit of power her mother tried to take from her, turning abuse into motivation. Her hands bring pleasure. Why should she be punished for that?

As she has proven time and time again, Susie motherfucking Bannion is a brave one. She is not willing to keep her desires secret, no matter the risk, no matter the cost. Not satisfied with hints and guessing and doubt, she tells Blanc exactly what she wants, exactly what she is. She grabs Blanc's hands, takes them, brings them to her cheek.

This one is mine.




Again, it is an invitation. It is a question. What else can these hands do?

And again, it goes unanswered, and Susie is left alone with her thoughts.

But she knows who she is. Later, she uses those hands, those hands her mother punished her for so long ago, those hands no longer held by Sara or Blanc, to rip herself open, to make herself free.



Susie Bannion knows what hands mean, what hands can do. And she is not afraid to show you.

SUSPIRIA Day 17: hands


There are hands everywhere in Suspiria. No matter how they are engaged, they are often shot in reverential close-ups, affording even the most mundane of tasks a kind of beauty. The gentle care given a dying mother, the cold efficiency of bureaucracy, a moment's pause at the start of a new life–there is a reverence for the everyday throughout this film full of the fantastic.




Again and again we see hands imparting tenderness. Words can be inadequate, sometimes, when we try to convey love. Instead we might offer a soft touch that carries the world. Caressing her name as if it were her sweet face years ago, a ritual to let her know she is not forgotten, that he is still here, that they are still here.




A jumble of fingers, grasping tightly, promise made and secrets kept.


Conduits for spells, spells given, spells taken, all the violence and power they cast. Art is beautiful, art is monstrous, the savior and the destroyer. Supplication and worship before the terrible judgments.









Susie's dreams are full of hands. Hands upon hands, hands within hands, echoes of the Sabbath and the Mother.




"You're in a company now. You have to find your right place. You have to decide–what is it you want to be for this company? Is it the head? The spine? The sex? The heart?"

"The hands. I want to be this company's hands."


Of course Susie wants to be the hands. Of course her dreams are full of them.

It is always difficult to navigate attraction, but it is infinitely more so for queer women. The guessing, the second-guessing, the doubling back and the doubting. The rules of straight courtship and romance don't apply. For a boy and a girl, holding hands is literally child's play. Before you do anything else, before you know there's anything else to do, you can walk hand-in-hand anywhere you please, saying "this one is mine." For queers, this simple thing carries enormous risk. A risk to personal safety. A risk of losing everything and everyone you have, because you said "this one is mine."

Hands are held in secret. A caress, a grasp, an intertwining...touching is done only when there's no one else around to see. You are mine, but only we know.

There is a parallel to be made, once again, to Carol. Hands figure prominently into the film and the novel, The Price of Salt.

"She thought of people she has seen holding hands in movies, and why shouldn't she and Carol?"








Todd Haynes, like Luca Guadagnino, is a queer filmmaker who understands the significance and weight of the barest hint of contact between two women trying to impart romantic intent in the private way they must. Every lingering touch, every hair tucked behind an ear, every line traced...even the brush of fingertips carries the hint of the erotic. For queer women, hands often double as sex organs; her hand on yours is sometimes more than just that. It's a suggestion, a hint of what could be, of what might come next. A hint of where else those fingers might go. What else these hands can do.

Susie knows this. She learned at a young age what hands can do, and once again, as ever, she was punished. The hands that caress can also bring unimaginable violence.


   
"I want to be this company's hands."


Susie takes back every bit of power her mother tried to take from her, turning abuse into motivation. Her hands bring pleasure. Why should she be punished for that?

As she has proven time and time again, Susie motherfucking Bannion is a brave one. She is not willing to keep her desires secret, no matter the risk, no matter the cost. Not satisfied with hints and guessing and doubt, she tells Blanc exactly what she wants, exactly what she is. She grabs Blanc's hands, takes them, brings them to her cheek.

This one is mine.




Again, it is an invitation. It is a question. What else can these hands do?

And again, it goes unanswered, and Susie is left alone with her thoughts.

But she knows who she is. Later, she uses those hands, those hands her mother punished her for so long ago, those hands no longer held by Sara or Blanc, to rip herself open, to make herself free.



Susie Bannion knows what hands mean, what hands can do. And she is not afraid to show you.

SUSPIRIA Day 16: eyes


One of the smallest, yet most sinister details in the film occurs around the Volk sequence, and it's one that many folks don't catch at all: it's particularly noticeable during the performance, but even before the dance even begins, Susie and Sara have switched eye color.




In the script, it's described as something of fetish for Madame Blanc–the brown-eyed dancers become the favorites. As Susie is, at this point, the favorite, she gets Sara's brown eyes. They are brown for the remainder of the film, even as she ascends to Suspiriorum.

No one in the film comments on it and it's not referenced in any way, which perhaps makes it even more disconcerting. In the mutterhaus, we see that Patricia's eyes are blue, but they, too, were brown in the opening scene. It's a minor detail that speaks volumes about how evil and perverse the coven truly is, a grotesque use of power and a gross violation for no obvious purpose beyond...what? Aesthetics? Attractiveness? Ever the artist, our Madame Blanc.

SUSPIRIA Day 15: hester


Susie's gross, horny dreams are like microcosms of the film itself–full of indelible images, violence, and art. Needless to say, there's a lot to unpack. But one intriguing moment that resonates is a hand smearing blood on a wall, eventually writing what looks like the letter "A"...while a voice loudly whispers what sure sounds like "Hester!"


Couple this shot with the scene later, back in the Ohio farmhouse, where Susie's dying mother receives blessings from the pastor and says:

"My daughter...my last one. She's my sin. She's what I smeared on the world."

Given that Susie was a rebellious, thieving–and gay, if you ask me–child who left her family and church behind, it's easy to read that quote as simply some hardcore religious disappointment. But that quote in the context of that big scarlet "A" raises the question: Does she mean "my sin" literally? Is it not accusatory, but rather an admission? Was Susie born out of wedlock?


In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne has an affair and gives birth to a daughter, Pearl. Her fellow Puritan colonists force her to wear a scarlet "A" (for "adulteress") on her dress. She is also subject to further public humiliation and shaming, and spends time in a jail cell. She won't reveal the name of Pearl's father, and is largely shunned as she lives with her daughter on the outskirts of the village.

Pearl bears a striking resemblance to what we see of young Susanna: she is a "witch-child," precocious and smart, a defiant outsider. As she is shunned alongside her mother, she develops a vivid inner-life:
The unlikeliest materials—a stick, a bunch of rags, a flower—were the puppets of Pearl's witchcraft, and, without undergoing any outward change, became spiritually adapted to whatever drama occupied the stage of her inner world.
Witchcraft. I mean.

The interesting diversion is between the mother figures: Hester is publicly humiliated and shunned by the Puritans, and stops going to church. She doesn't believe that her sin is worthy of total condemnation. Susie's mother, on the other hand, is obviously deeply involved in the church and lives a strict, devout life. If Susie was the product of an affair, her mother has buried that knowledge deep, where it festers and rots.

Where something might slip in, and grow.

As she erases Klemperer's memories during the film's epilogue, Mother Suspiriorum says, "We need guilt, Doctor. And shame." A pious woman's secret guilt and shame would make for ripe feeding. And her hated daughter, a vessel–a witch-child–for unimaginable power to smear on the world.

SUSPIRIA Day 15: hester


Susie's gross, horny dreams are like microcosms of the film itself–full of indelible images, violence, and art. Needless to say, there's a lot to unpack. But one intriguing moment that resonates is a hand smearing blood on a wall, eventually writing what looks like the letter "A"...while a voice loudly whispers what sure sounds like "Hester!"


Couple this shot with the scene later, back in the Ohio farmhouse, where Susie's dying mother receives blessings from the pastor and says:

"My daughter...my last one. She's my sin. She's what I smeared on the world."

Given that Susie was a rebellious, thieving–and gay, if you ask me–child who left her family and church behind, it's easy to read that quote as simply some hardcore religious disappointment. But that quote in the context of that big scarlet "A" raises the question: Does she mean "my sin" literally? Is it not accusatory, but rather an admission? Was Susie born out of wedlock?


In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne has an affair and gives birth to a daughter, Pearl. Her fellow Puritan colonists force her to wear a scarlet "A" (for "adulteress") on her dress. She is also subject to further public humiliation and shaming, and spends time in a jail cell. She won't reveal the name of Pearl's father, and is largely shunned as she lives with her daughter on the outskirts of the village.

Pearl bears a striking resemblance to what we see of young Susanna: she is a "witch-child," precocious and smart, a defiant outsider. As she is shunned alongside her mother, she develops a vivid inner-life:
The unlikeliest materials—a stick, a bunch of rags, a flower—were the puppets of Pearl's witchcraft, and, without undergoing any outward change, became spiritually adapted to whatever drama occupied the stage of her inner world.
Witchcraft. I mean.

The interesting diversion is between the mother figures: Hester is publicly humiliated and shunned by the Puritans, and stops going to church. She doesn't believe that her sin is worthy of total condemnation. Susie's mother, on the other hand, is obviously deeply involved in the church and lives a strict, devout life. If Susie was the product of an affair, her mother has buried that knowledge deep, where it festers and rots.

Where something might slip in, and grow.

As she erases Klemperer's memories during the film's epilogue, Mother Suspiriorum says, "We need guilt, Doctor. And shame." A pious woman's secret guilt and shame would make for ripe feeding. And her hated daughter, a vessel–a witch-child–for unimaginable power to smear on the world.

SUSPIRIA Day 15: hester


Susie's gross, horny dreams are like microcosms of the film itself–full of indelible images, violence, and art. Needless to say, there's a lot to unpack. But one intriguing moment that resonates is a hand smearing blood on a wall, eventually writing what looks like the letter "A"...while a voice loudly whispers what sure sounds like "Hester!"


Couple this shot with the scene later, back in the Ohio farmhouse, where Susie's dying mother receives blessings from the pastor and says:

"My daughter...my last one. She's my sin. She's what I smeared on the world."

Given that Susie was a rebellious, thieving–and gay, if you ask me–child who left her family and church behind, it's easy to read that quote as simply some hardcore religious disappointment. But that quote in the context of that big scarlet "A" raises the question: Does she mean "my sin" literally? Is it not accusatory, but rather an admission? Was Susie born out of wedlock?


In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne has an affair and gives birth to a daughter, Pearl. Her fellow Puritan colonists force her to wear a scarlet "A" (for "adulteress") on her dress. She is also subject to further public humiliation and shaming, and spends time in a jail cell. She won't reveal the name of Pearl's father, and is largely shunned as she lives with her daughter on the outskirts of the village.

Pearl bears a striking resemblance to what we see of young Susanna: she is a "witch-child," precocious and smart, a defiant outsider. As she is shunned alongside her mother, she develops a vivid inner-life:
The unlikeliest materials—a stick, a bunch of rags, a flower—were the puppets of Pearl's witchcraft, and, without undergoing any outward change, became spiritually adapted to whatever drama occupied the stage of her inner world.
Witchcraft. I mean.

The interesting diversion is between the mother figures: Hester is publicly humiliated and shunned by the Puritans, and stops going to church. She doesn't believe that her sin is worthy of total condemnation. Susie's mother, on the other hand, is obviously deeply involved in the church and lives a strict, devout life. If Susie was the product of an affair, her mother has buried that knowledge deep, where it festers and rots.

Where something might slip in, and grow.

As she erases Klemperer's memories during the film's epilogue, Mother Suspiriorum says, "We need guilt, Doctor. And shame." A pious woman's secret guilt and shame would make for ripe feeding. And her hated daughter, a vessel–a witch-child–for unimaginable power to smear on the world.

SUSPIRIA Day 14: shades of evil


I love the blink–and-you'll-miss-it picture of Helena Markos we see early on in the movie. Susie has just arrived for her audition and pauses to take in the Tanzgruppe photos on display. There's one of the dancers and another of the matrons that is almost in accordance with the way each woman voted. (Vendegast and Marks are on the wrong sides however.)


There she is, a true Frau in her suit and dictator chic sunglasses. There, her opposite, is the undeniably charismatic and cool Madame Blanc. But Helena is the "light they choose to follow," as Tanner puts it, the one without whom the Company will fall apart. Or so she has led them to believe.

I'm fascinated by this Markos. The Hutt-adjacent version we see at the Sabbath is a disease-and-baby-arms-riddled monstrosity whose life has been extended unnaturally with the life essences and sacrifices of the young. I'm so curious about the Markos that's in this photo, the one who is hundreds of years old but still, you know, wears clothes.


I will get into "Blanc vs Markos" in a later post, but these photos really sum it up, don't they? Artist vs Dictator. The different ways of wielding power, and the costs.

I'm not usually a fan of horror movie prequels' and sequels' propensities for attempting explanations and solving mysteries that didn't warrant solving. For example, I don't want or need the life story and backgorund for Halloween's Michael Myers, Texas Chain Saw's Leatherface, or Black Christmas's Billy. Just let 'em be evil! But oh, how I would greedily lap up more about the Tanzgruppe and everyone in it throughout history and into the future. Once again I mourn the fact that all we'll likely ever have is this one film, because there is so much more, as Guadagnino hinted at in an interview last year:
I have this image in my mind of Helena Markos in solitude in the year 1212 in Scotland or in Spain. Wandering through a village and trying to find a way on how she can manipulate the women of the village. I have this image. I know she was there, I know it was six to seven hundred years before the actual storyline of this film.
I mean. I would step over any one of you to see that! But that's not enough! Where was Markos hanging out before she was put "in a storage cabinet under the floor"? Where does she shop for her BusinessFrau suits? How many pairs of sunglasses does she have? We need answers!

SUSPIRIA Day 14: shades of evil


I love the blink–and-you'll-miss-it picture of Helena Markos we see early on in the movie. Susie has just arrived for her audition and pauses to take in the Tanzgruppe photos on display. There's one of the dancers and another of the matrons that is almost in accordance with the way each woman voted. (Vendegast and Marks are on the wrong sides however.)


There she is, a true Frau in her suit and dictator chic sunglasses. There, her opposite, is the undeniably charismatic and cool Madame Blanc. But Helena is the "light they choose to follow," as Tanner puts it, the one without whom the Company will fall apart. Or so she has led them to believe.

I'm fascinated by this Markos. The Hutt-adjacent version we see at the Sabbath is a disease-and-baby-arms-riddled monstrosity whose life has been extended unnaturally with the life essences and sacrifices of the young. I'm so curious about the Markos that's in this photo, the one who is hundreds of years old but still, you know, wears clothes.


I will get into "Blanc vs Markos" in a later post, but these photos really sum it up, don't they? Artist vs Dictator. The different ways of wielding power, and the costs.

I'm not usually a fan of horror movie prequels' and sequels' propensities for attempting explanations and solving mysteries that didn't warrant solving. For example, I don't want or need the life story and backgorund for Halloween's Michael Myers, Texas Chain Saw's Leatherface, or Black Christmas's Billy. Just let 'em be evil! But oh, how I would greedily lap up more about the Tanzgruppe and everyone in it throughout history and into the future. Once again I mourn the fact that all we'll likely ever have is this one film, because there is so much more, as Guadagnino hinted at in an interview last year:
I have this image in my mind of Helena Markos in solitude in the year 1212 in Scotland or in Spain. Wandering through a village and trying to find a way on how she can manipulate the women of the village. I have this image. I know she was there, I know it was six to seven hundred years before the actual storyline of this film.
I mean. I would step over any one of you to see that! But that's not enough! Where was Markos hanging out before she was put "in a storage cabinet under the floor"? Where does she shop for her BusinessFrau suits? How many pairs of sunglasses does she have? We need answers!

programming note

I realize that you probably canceled all of your family plans this weekend–all of the cookouts and reunions and apple-picking excursions and box socials or whatever it is exactly that families do–because you were too busy keeping your eyeballs glued to a computer monitor and your web browser glued to Final Girl, waiting for the exact moment a SHOCKtober review of some shitty movie would drop. But drop they did not! And so now there you are...no family, and no cruddy reviews! What a world.

Look man, I knew that committing to a movie-a-day post with everything else going on this month was a fool's errand, but then I am nothing if not a massive fool, so it seemed like a good idea. It was not! And as the end of the month approaches and I have a mountain of work left to do, it was either lose the movie reviews or lose my sanity. I would have chosen the latter, but then I figured that writing the reviews with no grip on sanity would make for some useless reviews. So! I am pressing pause on the SHOCKtober daily movie reviews. But it's just a brief pause! They will be back next month for the very first...BLOODvember celebration.


That'll be just swell, I tells ya. And hey, I'll still be posting here daily for the rest of the month–Suspiria madness marches ever on. I hope you'll forgive this programming hiccup...I must admit, my brain feels better already.

programming note

I realize that you probably canceled all of your family plans this weekend–all of the cookouts and reunions and apple-picking excursions and box socials or whatever it is exactly that families do–because you were too busy keeping your eyeballs glued to a computer monitor and your web browser glued to Final Girl, waiting for the exact moment a SHOCKtober review of some shitty movie would drop. But drop they did not! And so now there you are...no family, and no cruddy reviews! What a world.

Look man, I knew that committing to a movie-a-day post with everything else going on this month was a fool's errand, but then I am nothing if not a massive fool, so it seemed like a good idea. It was not! And as the end of the month approaches and I have a mountain of work left to do, it was either lose the movie reviews or lose my sanity. I would have chosen the latter, but then I figured that writing the reviews with no grip on sanity would make for some useless reviews. So! I am pressing pause on the SHOCKtober daily movie reviews. But it's just a brief pause! They will be back next month for the very first...BLOODvember celebration.


That'll be just swell, I tells ya. And hey, I'll still be posting here daily for the rest of the month–Suspiria madness marches ever on. I hope you'll forgive this programming hiccup...I must admit, my brain feels better already.

programming note

I realize that you probably canceled all of your family plans this weekend–all of the cookouts and reunions and apple-picking excursions and box socials or whatever it is exactly that families do–because you were too busy keeping your eyeballs glued to a computer monitor and your web browser glued to Final Girl, waiting for the exact moment a SHOCKtober review of some shitty movie would drop. But drop they did not! And so now there you are...no family, and no cruddy reviews! What a world.

Look man, I knew that committing to a movie-a-day post with everything else going on this month was a fool's errand, but then I am nothing if not a massive fool, so it seemed like a good idea. It was not! And as the end of the month approaches and I have a mountain of work left to do, it was either lose the movie reviews or lose my sanity. I would have chosen the latter, but then I figured that writing the reviews with no grip on sanity would make for some useless reviews. So! I am pressing pause on the SHOCKtober daily movie reviews. But it's just a brief pause! They will be back next month for the very first...BLOODvember celebration.


That'll be just swell, I tells ya. And hey, I'll still be posting here daily for the rest of the month–Suspiria madness marches ever on. I hope you'll forgive this programming hiccup...I must admit, my brain feels better already.

SUSPIRIA Day 13: and this moment


The biggest complaint I hear from the total absolute FOOLS!!! who dislike Suspiria is that they feel the Josef Klemperer character is unnecessary. Once I even saw a heathen post a "fan edit" that excised as many Klemperer instances as possible. Nuts, I say. Nuts!

If you take out Klemperer, what are you taking out? What purpose does he serve that these FOOLS!!! just aren't seeing? I think he fulfills several functions, both practical and emotional, and he's rather essential to the film.

In Dario Argento's Suspiria, Suzy Bannion takes it upon herself to investigate the coven, seeking the counsel of Dr. Mandel and Professor Milius, and eventually making her way into the Iris Room and finding all of the secrets within. Obviously it's not possible for Susie Bannion to do this work in Luca Guadagnino's film, so we need someone else to do the detective work and drive the plot forward. Here, the duty falls largely to Klemperer after he reads Patricia's forgotten notebook.


It's just as important, however, that his story with Anke serves as the emotional heart of the film. Though there are also love stories between Susie and Sara and Susie and Blanc, it's the one between Josef and Anke that is more than subtext, that is real and has a place in history. (Though, to be fair, Susie/Blanc is so obvious and there that it might as well be text, no?) Anke is the human face of the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust, which informs the Tanzgruppe's history, the political setting of the film, and much of Suspiria's messaging. She is a reminder of the real cost of doing nothing in the face of fascism, of leaving it all to someone else. The story of Anke Meier is perhaps the biggest of all the tragedies in this heartbreaking film, and as Josef was the witness for the witches' Sabbath, so, too was he Anke's witness. He tells us through the entirety of Suspiria that Anke was. She is gone, as we all will be someday, but he remembers. She haunts him–not always painfully. But she is always there, every day, still, over the years and the decades, because he wants her to be. She was a human being who was loved and who is missed dearly. In a sense, he is keeping her alive...and in a movie filled with cruelty, a movie in which no love can stay for long, we desperately need Josef's–and Anke's–humanity, as bittersweet as it is. 

I'll be taking a broader look at their story in another post. Here I want to highlight a small, lovely moment, a gesture, that essentially demonstrates everything I tried to convey in all those words.

First, though, can we acknowledge how magnificent Tilda Swinton is as Josef Klemperer? Or, if you prefer, as Lutz Ebersdorf as Josef Klemperer? (I'll be using the shorthand version of that.) (And in case you didn't know how cheeky they were being, "Eber" means "boar" or "swine," and "Dorf" means "village" or "town." Roughly: Ebersdorf = SwineTown = Swinton.) It's seen as a bit of a stunt, acting under all of that (incredible) makeup. No amount of latex that could save an inauthentic performance, however, so the real marvel is how Swinton inhabits this character so fully, in so many small ways. Even though they got up close and personal after the Sabbath, Ingrid Caven (Vendegast) had no idea she was singing that lullaby to Tilda Swinton. The rapid shallow breaths after a bit of exertion, the stiff gait and small, shuffling steps, the splayed fingers...there are countless tiny moments of physicality that render this performance so much more than a stunt.

The moment I want to talk about happens as Klemperer leaves the police station. He's just spoken with Detectives Albrecht and Glockner, following up on the phone call he made to them to report Patricia as missing. The detectives visited the Academy and, as we know, were ensorcelled by Vendegast, Tanner, and Huller, but the men have no memory of that. According to them, they searched the premises and found nothing untoward. Klemperer insists that they only saw what the women wanted them to see, but the detectives aren't having it and basically brush him off.


(Incidentally, I love how you can feel Klemperer's frustration with all of it in the quick, exasperated side-eyes he gives to the woman next to him who won't stop typing. To feel that your concern isn't given the dignity of a bit of quiet so it can be heard, how deflating. So is Glockner popping a meatball in his mouth while Klemperer talks.)

As he's about to head downstairs, Klemperer calls for Detective Glockner, who returns to the stairwell. Klemperer wants to thank him for information the detective gave him regarding his wife.

"Your wife also went missing?" Glockner asks, and you get the feeling that he finds it suspicious that this man has reported two women who seem to have vanished.


Josef gives Glockner just enough of the story, so the detective can fill in the rest.

"Anke Meier. 1943."

Klemperer makes her known.

Anke Meier. She was.

Glockner moves closer, affording Klemperer the attention and respect he didn't get in the office.


Thanks to Glockner, her could eliminate Poland from the list of places where Anke may have ended up during the war. Over the years since then, Glockner has surely helped or hindered hundreds of people. Perhaps this exchange sparks the ember of a memory, or perhaps for him she is forgotten and gone. Whatever their meeting in 1943 meant or means to the detective, now he will know her name. And their meeting was vital to Klemperer.

"I'm still grateful."

And the moment hangs there. Glockner is silent. Klemperer is momentarily in a reverie, lost in his thoughts, thoughts that are surely of Anke. Regret, sadness, love. Darkness, tears, and sighs.


He quickly pats himself on the chest twice, turns, and leaves. That taptap is so small and simple and beautiful, equal parts let's get on with things, then and i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart). It shows everything she was to him, and everything she is.

Anke Meier. She was.

How could anyone think we don't need this?