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The Witch on her Broomstick, after a work by L.R. FaleroClassic Image / Alamy Stock Photo

From Witches to Freud: Six Books That Inspired Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria

For AnOther Magazine A/W18, the filmmaker discussed the texts which had a profound impact on his latest film, an ode to Dario Argento’s cult horror

Lead ImageThe Witch on her Broomstick, after a work by L.R. FaleroClassic Image / Alamy Stock Photo

“The following texts were all part of the specifics of my process in making Suspiria: Sigmund Freud on the uncanny; historian Carlo Ginzburg on the history of the witches’ Sabbath; a 1977 interview with German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder; Il Dio delle donne (The God of Women) by philosopher Luisa Muraro, translated from the Italian; diarist Victor Klemperer’s notebook on the language of the Third Reich; and author Lea Vergine’s essay on performance artists including Gina Pane and Ana Mendieta – Suspiria is filled with references to many feminist artists. These writings were an important part of my personal upbringing. For me, they represent a source of study and work and inspiration, but I think they speak for themselves.” – Luca Guadagnino

1. The Uncanny by Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud first published The Uncanny (Das Unheimliche) in 1919 in Imago, the journal he founded in Vienna. The essay was the first to explore the unsettling psychological phenomenon of the uncanny, an experience of strange familiarity which, Freud suggests, confronts the subject with their own unconscious desires.

2. I Let the Audience Feel and Think Rainer Werner Fassbinder interviewed by Norbert Sparrow

Prolific provocateur of New German Cinema Rainer Werner Fassbinder gave this interview in 1977. It was first published in the American magazine Cineaste, Vol 8, No 2.

3. The Language of the Third Reich by Victor Klemperer

Journalist and professor Victor Klemperer was expelled from the Technical University of Dresden in 1935 because he was Jewish. The Language of the Third Reich, published in 1957 by Max Niemeyer Verlag, was drawn from diaries he kept during the rise of the Nazi regime, studying the Nazis’ perversion of language and use of buzz words to inculcate the German people with National Socialist ideas. It was published in English by The Athlone Press in 2000.

4. Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath by Carlo Ginzburg

An investigation of witchcraft, tracing the secret history of shamanic culture across Europe, Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath by Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg was first published in English by Hutchinson Radius in 1990, translated by Raymond Rosenthal.

5. The Body as Language: Body Art and Like Stories by Lea Vergine

The Italian art critic Lea Vergine’s seminal book Body Art and Performance was published in 1974 by Giampaolo Prearo. It was the first to study the then-fledgling body art movement and included the work of 60 artists.

6. Il Dio delle donne by Luisa Muraro

The God of Women, by the feminist Italian philosopher Luisa Muraro, examines the impact of female mystics from Marguerite Porete to Simone Weil and Cristina Campo. It was first published in 2003 by Mondadori.

Read the full extracts in the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of AnOther Magazine, which is on sale internationally now.