Welcome to Framed, a column at Cinematical that celebrates the artistry of cinema -- one frame at a time.
Last week, when writing about an image from Spike Lee's Malcolm X, I mentioned that Lee's films often look best when they're in motion. The same can't be said for the works of Italian director Dario Argento. Argento's films do look magnificent when they're moving -- his penchant for crane shots and moving cameras has become almost legendary -- but you can basically pause an Argento title at any moment and find an image worthy of hanging on a wall. The director's visual style trumps everything else in his films, which makes him a perfect candidate for an installment of Framed. And while Argento's body of work features no shortage of visually-striking movies, there really could only be one choice for this week's column: his supernatural chiller Suspiria.
The first film of Argento's Three Mothers trilogy is a dizzying, dazzling display of technical prowess -- a nightmare recreated on film. In the movie, Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) is an American ballet student studying abroad at an academy in Freiburg, Germany. Little does she know, the school is far more interested in black magic than dance -- it's run by one of the Three Mothers, powerful witches who secretly rule the world. Suzy discovers this institution is run by Mater Suspiriorum (in the form of Black Queen Helena Markos) and she must confront the evil woman if she is to have any hope of escaping with her life.