Dario Argento, Italy, 1977
Suspiria is a film which takes place in the every day environment of a girls boarding school, which is twisted in to the register of horror by way of murders and acts of black magic. This excerpt shows, in a macro version, the film’s twisted machinations.
At the start of the scene the setting is presented with white as the dominant colour, as featured in the carpet and curtains. Only the women who direct the school are dressed in black, signifying their authority. When they come out Argento dims the lights in the dormitory and at the same time brings up the red lights, creating long shadows on the white screens, which have now become red. The first shot becomes very dark, with the image framed by black at the top and bottom. This open change of lighting, without cutting away, completely changes the feel of the setting. We go from a normal dormitory to one where disturbing and unsubstantial forms forebode dreadful deeds to come.