The estate of radical Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta, known for her taboo-busting performance art, is suing Amazon for borrows images from Mendieta’s work in the upcoming Suspiria remake, Deadline reports. Which is exactly the kind of niche art history drama that I live for.
The lawsuit, according to Variety, claims that that an early trailer for the film, which is directed by Call Me By Your Name’s Luca Guadagnino, contained images derived from Mendieta. The trailer, released in June, featured images of a woman with her hands tied behind her back with rope, over a white table, which could be seen as an obvious callback to Mendieta’s famous 1973 work “Rape Scene,” in which she recreated a fictionalized rape scene using herself as a bloodied victim in her University of Iowa apartment, and invited students to take a look. The trailer also reportedly used an image of a silhouette cast on a sheet, which the lawsuit claims was borrowed heavily from Mendieta’s “Untitled (Silueta Series, Mexico),” in which silhouettes of bodies are demarcated into the earth.
Both works deal with violence, bodies, women, and death—and just last month, Guadagnino told Deadline that the film is inspired by “radical feminist art of the 1970s which looked a lot at violence on the female body.”
According to Variety, Mendieta’s estate first sent the director a cease and desist letter in June when the trailer that allegedly committed copyright infringement was released. Those images were removed from future trailers and the movie, according to the lawsuit, but Mendieta’s estate claims there are many more still in the film, which premiered at Venice Film Festival this month.
Things are heating up. If anything, this just makes me want to see Guadagnino’s Suspiria more, because I love Mendieta. Did you know the New York Times didn’t write an obituary for her when she died an early, sudden, and tragic death in 1985? The paper corrected that recently, and it’s worth your time.