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Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780993238475

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780993238475.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Meet Death Now – Watching Suspiria

Meet Death Now – Watching Suspiria

(p.43) Chapter Two: Meet Death Now – Watching Suspiria

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Liverpool University Press

This chapter presents a scene-by-scene analysis of Dario Argento's Suspiria (1976), exploring the elements that hold it together as much as it celebrates the experimental spirit of that drove its bold, hallucinatory style. Suspiria is drenched with artfully deployed anarchy: consider, for instance, the fact that it is a film about a ballet school that features almost no dancing. It offers an explicit psychological explanation and then does everything within its power to undermine such rationalisations. The most excessive aspects of Suspiria stem from its formal construction. Light, sound, colour, and movement converge with an intensity rendered all the more overpowering due to the film's perpetual fascination with the spectacle of suffering bodies. Less a singular narrative whole than an episodic string of viscera-rich vignettes, it is the mastery with which these scenes are constructed that has granted Suspiria its enduring reputation. The chapter unpacks the minutiae of these sequences, celebrating the joyful paradox of its simultaneous cohesion and incoherence.

Keywords:   Dario Argento, Suspiria, hallucinatory style, formal construction, suffering, vignettes

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