Ana Mendieta Estate and Amazon Studios Reach Settlement on ‘Suspiria’ Copyright Infringement Suit

Luca Guadagnino, Suspiria (still), 2018, 152 minutes.


Last month, Ana Mendieta’s estate sued Amazon Studios, alleging that Luca Gudagnino’s new film Suspiria, which is being distributed by the company and comes out today in New York and Los Angeles, draws too heavily on imagery created by the late artist. But now the suit has been settled, Variety reports. Terms of the agreement between the estate and the studio were not immediately made available.

In the suit, the estate said that the Guadagnino film—a remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 cult classic of the same name about supernatural happenings at a ballet school—includes several images that hew too closely to Mendieta’s work. Some of these shots reference Mendieta’s 1973 photograph Rape Scene and her “Siluetas” series, and appeared in the film’s first trailer. After the estate sent Amazon a cease-and-desist letter, they were removed from the final cut. But, the suit said, when the film screened at the Venice Film Festival in September, an an “agent” affiliated with New York’s Galerie Lelong & Co. gallery, which represents the artist, noted eight more shots drawing on Mendieta’s work.

“In general, image permissions [for Mendieta’s work] are only granted for art historical contexts such as academic journal articles and informational articles directly related to the artist’s work and practice,” Galerie Lelong & Co., which represents the estate, told ARTnews after the suit was filed. “Permissions are not granted for commercial reproductions.” The gallery said it was “unfortunate” that Guadagnino set out to pay homage to feminist art of the 1970s, and accidentally ripped it off in the process.

Amazon Studios previously declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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