Space & Environment: Secret Liars

‘The Mise-en-Scene’ Film Review

Suspria (1977)

Directed by Dario Argento. ‘A vivid classic of European horror’. (Film4, 2008) Dario Argento really makes you wonder whom to trust in this Horror/Thriller about a woman who enroles in a posh ballet academy only to realise that this school isn’t just for teaching dance but hides a nasty secret amidst some horrid murders. The use of colour and lighting throughout this movie is something that would most certainly be lost if it was in black and white. The Academy’s lobby has this bizarre symmetrical look to it, and has a bright, in your face pattern smothered across the walls all in different shades of red. The use of red as a main colour is frequently used especially when danger is arising: ‘Dario's use of the old Technicolor three-strip matrix system, combined
Figure 1

with gels and lighting effects, achieved the nightmarish hues which distinguish this film.’ (Haflidason, 2007) You see bright red light bouncing across the rooms, not only in the lobby but also in the corridors and aspects of different rooms.

Figure 2

Hallucinations often occur making you change your mind as to who the villain could be, ‘Argento's masterful use of deep primary colours — the sets are bathed in garish red and green light (he acquired 1950s Technicolor stock to get the effect) giving the whole film a hallucinatory intensity.’ (Smith, 2007) As well this colour having a specific meaning representing hallucinations, they could also give a sense of insecurity and fear.

Figure 3

If not for the sounds, making you feel suspense and terror for what’s coming next then this film wouldn’t be as good as it is. The tinkling noises suggesting danger towards one of the characters, gives the film a pantomime feel, making the audience want to shout out ‘HES BEHIND YOU!’

Bibliography:
Text: Film4. Available at: http://www.film4.com/reviews/1976/suspiria (Accessed online on 8th December 2013) Haflidason, Almar. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2002/10/28/suspiria_2002_dvd_review.shtml (Accessed online on 8th December 2013) Smith, Adam. Available at: http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=132659 (Accessed online on 8th December 2013) Images: Fig 1. Suspria (1977) From: Suspria. Directed by Dario Argento [Film Poster] Italian. http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1229951744/tt0076786?ref_=tt_ov_i Fig 2. Suspria (1977) From: Suspria. Directed by Dario Argento [Film Still] Italian. http://media.screened.com/uploads/1/15986/467859-suspiria04.jpg Fig 3. Suspria (1977) From: Suspria. Directed by Dario Argento [Film Still] Italian. http://brattleblog.brattlefilm.org/2013/06/18/suspiria-1484/#.UqS1iqUShQQ

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