Amazon Studios is facing a lawsuit over the use of shots in “Suspiria” that allegedly bear similarities to works by Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta. The Estate of Ana Mendieta sued the studio on Thursday, September 27, accusing “Suspiria” of borrowing from the late artist’s work, Variety reports.
The lawsuit claims the “Suspiria” teaser trailer, released on June 4, featured two shots influenced by Mendieta’s 1970’s works “Rape Scene” and “Untitled (Silueta Series, Mexico).” One shot showed a woman’s hands bound with rope (which the lawsuit says is inspired by “Rape Scene”) and the other depicted the bloody silhouette of a body on a sheet (allegedly inspired by “Silueta Series”).
The Estate of Ana Mendieta sent a cease and desist letter to Amazon in July. The studio pulled the teaser trailer from online and the lawsuit states the two shots are not included in the theatrical release. However, the estate claims there are eight other shots in the movie that bear similarities to Mendieta’s work. The estate is seeking damages and a restraining order to block Amazon from using the images.
“Suspiria” director Luca Guadagnino has been open in past interviews about feminist artwork inspiring his vision for the movie. The filmmaker told Yahoo! Entertainment in February that his “Suspiria” was “soaked in the ideas of feminist art,” citing Mendieta as well as Gina Pane, Francesca Woodman, and Judy Chicago as artists who helped shaped his creative outlook for the movie.
“I hope that this movie, made by a man, turns out to be experienced through its horrors as a sort of fierce showcase of the female artistic experience,” Guadagnino said at the time. “The relentless, unsentimental idea of femininity that I grew up witnessing, that I’ve been accompanied by in my life.”
The Estate of Ana Mendieta is managed by Ana’s sister, Raquelin Mendieta, and her niece, Raquel Cecilia Mendieta. While the estate allows Mendieta’s art to be reproduced for scholarly purposes, it does not allow for her work to be used for commercial purposes.
The lawsuit against Amazon Studios was filed in federal court in Seattle. When reached for comment by IndieWire, Amazon Studios said it is not allowed to comment on ongoing litigation. The studio is set to release “Suspiria” in select New York and Los Angeles theaters on October 26, followed by an expansion November 2.