The 2018 version of Suspiria has Tilda Swinton not only play Madame Blanc, but also Mother Markos and, more prominently, Dr. Klemperer. Now while Mother Markos doesn't appear much in the story and it's certainly nothing new for Tilda Swinton to play outside of her sex either, it's still an interesting choice to have her play at least two rather relevant yet seemingly unconnected roles in the story.

So I wonder if there is a deeper meaning behind this casting choice as an artistic decision, beyond just production convenience or willingness to experiment. It might also be worth considering that Dr. Klemperer is basically the only relevant (and benevolent) male character and having him be played by a woman too could lend to some feminist interpretations of the story, but the specific connection still stays a bit nebulous to me.

1 Answer 1


From The New York Times

So why was Swinton playing Lutz Ebersdorf?

“Undeniably, I would have to say, for the sheer sake of fun above all,” Swinton emailed. “As my grandmother would have it — a motto to live and die by — ‘Dull Not To.’”

Still, Swinton and her director had more in mind than just playfulness. Guadagnino had always conceived “Suspiria” as a movie about female identity, and to cast Swinton in the only significant male role, would ensure that “there will always be this element of femininity at its core,” Guadagnino said. “Being a film about the fantastic, it was important that we did not play by the book.”

Tilda said, “Klemperer is inhabited by the phantasm of his lost wife: He is, in this crucial respect, ‘played’ by a woman. She dictates the rhythm of his life in the everyday texture of his bereaved loneliness.

And while to say much more would be a spoiler, there is also a third, more monstrous character that Swinton plays in the final act, and Guadagnino intentionally conceived these three figures for her. “This is a movie that is very connected to psychoanalysis,” he said, “and I like to think that only Tilda could play ego, superego and id.”

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