The 7 Deadly Sessions Vol. 16 features reviews on movies we saw at the Venice Film Festival including First Man, Suspiria, Charlie Says, and Friedkin Uncut; Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of Neil Armstrong; Thom Yorke scores Suspiria; the bizarre relationship between The Beach Boys and Charles Manson; with songs from William Friedkin’s ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘To Live And Die In LA’…..
Like last year’s mother! by Darren Aronofsky, Suspiria has already divided audiences at this year’s Venice Film Festival. Whilst I clapped my palms off once the credits rolled an irate audience member beside me booed furiously (we exchanged disapproving glances). The Guardianreports “it fails to bewitch,” but I beg to differ.
Some scenes in Suspiria are spectacularly unnerving
Lucky for us the talented directer Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name, A Bigger Splash) and smart screenwriter David Kajganich have taken this spooky subject matter very seriously. The result is some prima orrore assoluta – particularly the shocking sequence where some ubiquitous evil forces choreograph an ill-fated dance student into a très grave finale.
This Suspiria is not a remake
You don’t need to have seen the original to enjoy this movie (although I’d highly recommend that you do). It’s much more of a reimagining of Argento’s dream-tale than a remake. Guadagnino intertwines German politics and terrorism – the film is set in Berlin, 1977 (the year the original was unleashed). Plus lead character Susie gets a much meatier backstory. And dancing, there’s a lot more dancing.
Original Suspiria star Jessica Harper pops up
Deliberately avoiding all media about the movie so I could go in knowing little it was a pleasant surprise to see Jessica Harper make an appearance. Harper played the title role of Susie in Argento’s version and with Guadagnino being Argento’s biggest fan, and good pal, this cameo was a nice nod to the original and to the fans.
The performances in Suspiria are spellbinding
Dakota Johnson is enchanting as the elite ballet dancer; Tilda Swinton is captivating, of course, as the mysterious headmistress; yet it was rising star Mia Goth’s performance that did it for me. Chloë Grace Moretz along with the other fellow students are very good, as are the teachers (or coven of witches) at the Markos Dance Academy.
Dakota Johnson in Suspiria. Photo courtesy Amazon Studios.
Swindled by Swinton
Speculation sparked controversy that the role of psychoanalyst Josef Klemperer, played by a German actor named Lutz Ebersdorf in his screen debut, was in fact Tilda Swinton in heavy makeup. During the Venice Film Festival press conference when asked what it was like playing the two roles, Swinton replied, “what two roles?” followed by a wink. She even read out a letter from Klemperer himself excusing his absence from the panel.
Thom Yorke scores with the Suspiria soundtrack
The soundtrack to the original Suspiria is legendary. Italian band Goblin composed it working closely with Argento throughout production. This time, Guadagnino called upon Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to bring the magic, and he doesn’t disappoint. The music is definitely more mellow than it’s predecessor but suits the autumnal tone of the film.
Suspiria by Luca Guadagnino. Photo courtesy Amazon Studios.
Suspiria premiered at the 75th annual Venice International Film Festival and is scheduled to be released in Ireland in November, 2018.
First Man ▴ Dir. Damien Chazelle ▴ Stars Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy
Opener of this year’s 75th Annual Venice International Film Festival is space odyssey, First Man, based on the authorised biography of moon walker Neil Armstrong, whose one small step changed history for mankind. Damien Chazelle (Gravity, La La Land) hurtles us through the troposphere on a rickety rocket in the most dangerous journey ever taken.
Suspiria ▴ Dir. Luca Guadagnino ▴ Stars Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton
Without further ado, director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) had this to say to the Hollywood Reporter, “I hope that the movie comes across as a relentless experience that’s going to go deep into your skin all the way down into your spine. I want the movie to perform as the most disturbing experience you can have.”
At Eternity’s Gate ▴ Dir. Julian Schnabel ▴ Stars Willem Dafoe, Oscar Isaac
We recently went to opening night of the incredible Roderic O’Conor exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland so catching At Eternity’s Gate is the perfect follow-up as it focuses on the last days of Vincent van Gogh before he shot himself. O’Conors’ works are on display side-by-side with paintings by Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin – artists he connected and collaborated with – and are both portrayed in this movie.
The Favourite ▴ Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos ▴ Stars Emma Stone, Rachael Weisz
Dogtooth is disturbing, The Lobster unnerving and The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is distressing – albeit in a good way, per se. What on earth could this unique Greek filmmaker have in store for us this time? A little ray of pitch black no doubt.
22 July ▴ Dir. Paul Greengrass
On the 22nd of July, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed eight people by detonating a van bomb in Oslo, Norway, then traveled to the island of Utøya, posed as a police officer, and shot dead 69 people on a youth summer camp. This is the story.
The Nightingale ▴ Dir. Jennifer Kent ▴ Stars Aisling Franciosi
The Venice Film Festival has come under fire for its lack of female representation with Jennifer Kent being the only Golden Lion hopeful. The Aussie director changed horror history with her profound psychological horror The Babadook back in 2014 and now returns to give us all the thrills.
Vox Lux ▴ Dir. Brady Corbet ▴ Natalie Portman, Jude Law
When a movie stars Natalie Portman it’s always worth a watch. The three-time Academy Award nominee, who won Best Actress for Black Swan, may well be in the running to becoming Oscar’s next top winner.
La Biennale Di Venezia takes place from 29 August to 8 September. See the full line-up here.
The ‘shower scene‘ is what Psycho is remembered mostly for and Hitchcock gives us clues early on that indicate Marion’s fate. As she escapes from her past there’s no sunny sunset on the horizon only heavy rain obstructing her view – the slashing movement of the windscreen wipers in the rain foreshadowing the slashing of the knife in the shower.
25 years on and how cool is this scene? The ripples in the glasses of water… the appearance of the roaring T-rex… Lexi and Tim trapped under the glass of the sunroof… the climactic Jeep chases scene… incredible, and the characters plight made even more helpless by all that torrential rain.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.” says dying replicant Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) in one of the most moving death monologues in cinematic history.
N’er was there an opening scene so foreboding. What with our protagonist (Jessica Harper) arriving to a foreign destination, at night no less, in the lashings of rain. Heavy saturated colours and a suspense–setter song by Goblin make for an entirely creepy scene altogether.
Not exactly rain but that time cats and dogs became frogs in American filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Magnolia. What was this amphibian downpour? Is it something spiritual? Apocalyptic perhaps? Or just some freaky meteorological phenomenon – what does it all mean?
The heavy rain matched to this monologue makes Withnail’s melancholy, maybe even suicidal mood, even more heart-wrenching. We watch as a wine–filled Withnail delivers a sad soliloquy from the Tragedy of Hamlet: Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare.