November 17, 2018

Suspiria Baffles and Terrifies in Equal Measure

“It makes sense that Suspiria, Luca Guadagnino’s sleek-yet-deranged reinterpretation of Dario Argento’s landmark giallo horror, is hitting American cinema screens on 26 October, five days before Halloween. Scary movies of any commercial stripe benefit from seasonal timing; unless you’re a buff of the genre, to watch David Gordon Green’s Halloween sequel, for example, on 1 November would have the slightly tepid, hungover feeling of hearing Christmas carols on Boxing Day.

Even before the big day, however, some Halloween revellers queueing up for Suspiria will leave the cinema with their spooky spirits a little deflated, a little less buzzed than the promise of Dakota Johnson being terrorised by dancing witches in wintry Berlin may have led them to expect. Some will turn to each other and repeat the three simple words my elderly Italian seat neighbor said to me – or perhaps to the room in general – as the credits rolled on the film’s screening at the Venice film festival back in balmy late summer: “What was that?”

To be clear, I come to praise Suspiria, not bury it. In a genre overrun with workmanlike-or-worse remakes, revivals, reboots and retcons of classic horror properties, Guadagnino’s slow-and-loose spin on Argento’s original comes about as close as it can to being an original itself. Breaking the back of Argento’s narrative and splaying its limbs in disorienting, counterintuitive directions – rather like the fate that uncannily befalls a young dancer in the film’s most dazzling set piece – it fashions a piece of occult exploitation into a more oblique, extended, sensuous study of bodily stress, submission and control, forging connections to everything from the Holocaust to the Red Army Gang in its unpicking of feminine identity and oppression.”

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

"You are being watched. Right now, cookies are tracking which websites you visit and what you click on while you’re there. Your smartphone is logging your location."

"The US placed sanctions on 17 Saudis on Thursday as punishment for their alleged involvement in the murder of Saudi journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi... according to experts, the move doesn’t go far enough to reprimand the kingdom."

"If the slow-motion crisis that is Gaza ever has a turning point, then this week’s deal between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, or what’s left of it, and Hamas leaders, under siege, is what the turning would look like."

"Nicholas Parisi's new biography, 'Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination,' fails to present a complete picture of the legendary screenwriter who did his best work outside the TV show that made him famous."

"Nearly a year after the tax cut, economic growth has accelerated. Wage growth has not. Companies are buying back stock and business investment is a mixed bag."

"By shifting accents, Australian expatriates are seen to be shifting class and status, indicating a sense of superiority to those who remain in Australia. The quickly acquired faux-British accent in particular has been associated with pretension..."

"Denim, usually in the form of the humble pair of jeans, is arguably the world’s most popular fabric. Over the years, it’s been worn by everyone from supermodels to soccer moms."

"Capitalism disadvantages women along several axes. The dawn of the industrial revolution enshrined a division of labor that largely confined them to the domestic sphere."

"In the past five or so years, hosting a Thanksgiving meal among friends a week before the actual holiday has become a standard part of the celebration for many young adults."

"Are these business owners trying to keep out certain customers? What about children? Or people who are paid in cash, or others who, for whatever reason, can’t or won’t open a bank account..."

"Humanity is on the verge of a weighty achievement. On Friday, representatives of more than 60 nations will convene in Versailles, France, to approve a new definition for the kilogram."

"...the more modern form of the movement has its roots in late 19th-century Europe... The sole focus of some missions based in England and the U.S. was the conversion of the Jews to Christianity..."