Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Broken mirrors...

There's a moment in Argento's Opera where the understudy Betty, having gotten the chance to become a star in the avant-garde production of Macbeth through the unfortunate 'accident' befalling her diva predecessor, comments on the bad luck associated with 'The Scottish Play'. What is important, I think, is her framing in a mirror within this sequence and the relationship with the more fantastical Suspiria, wherein the bad luck and broken mirrors/minds relationship is deliberately ambiguous, thereby implied - all the moreso since in Suspiria's sequel, Inferno, the deaths of those who disturb the witches are prefigured by the breaking things and minor injuries - "by the pricking of my thumb, something this way wicked comes," as per Macbeth indeed...

3 comments:

Wostry Ferenc said...

SPOILER

About broken minds and Opera: interestingly the most striking scene for me in the film is not some elaborate bloodshed set piece or camera movement (altough the over the head crane shot in the finale changes one's life if seen in a cinema), but the scene after the killer finishes off the girl's young lover. She escapes, jumps into the director's car and - altough just minutes before - she doesn't say a word about the killing, but mumbles something about sadness (if I recall correctly, I haven't seen the film in months.)

When I was younger that scene literally infuriated me, because conventional logic stumbles there: why isn't she screaming her head off, her lover was just killed. And now I think I understand it: because she is as crazy/evil as her mother was (and of course because Argento doesn't care about conventional logic :)

K H Brown said...

That would fit with the end of the film as I read it. What Santini wants to do, after all, is reincarnate Betty's mother in her by awakening what he assumes is her latent sadism, via his inverse Ludovico Treatment. To me at the end of the film, he succeeds: even if Betty denies that she's like her mother, her not killing Santini but instead leaving him to be carted off by the police a final act of sadism.

That's one of the things I love about Argento, how the lack of conventional logic and motivation encourages you to make your own interpretations.

Whiggles said...

"When I was younger that scene literally infuriated me, because conventional logic stumbles there: why isn't she screaming her head off, her lover was just killed. And now I think I understand it: because she is as crazy/evil as her mother was (and of course because Argento doesn't care about conventional logic :)"

Actually, I think there's another possible interpretation: Betty's reaction makes much more sense if you view what she's just experienced as a form of metaphorical rape. Her behaviour, especially calling the police but not leaving her name, and later on telling herself it's all her own fault for singing the opera (i.e. somehow "leading on" the killer), very much fit the frequent behaviour patterns of rape victims.

Great blog, by the way, Keith - I'm bookmarking it. :)