Following on from their stunning debut feature Amer, Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani deliver another breath-taking giallo-inspired thriller, The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, pushing the envelope even further in terms of narrative coherency and cinematic beauty.
If you’re looking for a straightforward thriller narrative wrapped in giallo style, you won’t find it here. Cattet and Forzani throw narrative coherency to the wind and gleefully launch into an intensive exploration of giallo trope, ensuring that anyone desperate for an obvious answer to the mysteries of this labyrinthine film will be sorely disappointed. Though The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears does throw narrative scraps to the audience, ensuring that some vague concept of what’s going on is there, as a whole it’s more connected by theme. Obsession and passion appear at every twist and turn, whilst death and violence follow hot on their heels. The French auteurs cleverly leave little time for reflection or digestion; the symbols and ultra-violence come thick and fast in a Freudian head-fuck sure to fill numerous forums with panicked jibber-jabber as to what it’s all about.
This is a film populated by the ghosts of the giallo genre: sex mad sirens and murderous she-witches hide in the shadows of the gorgeous flat block, whilst killers in black leather seems to erupt out the walls to orchestrate scenes of visceral brutality with shimmering cut-throat razors. It’s been a while since stabbing looked this brutal. Arguably the skilled duo are covering a lot of the ground they did in Amer and even though it never comes across as tired, it would be interesting to see something totally different next.
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears actually surpasses all Cattet and Forzani’s previous works in terms of cinematography and sound. The rich day-glow noir that so excellently served their purposes in Amer and their entry to The ABC’s of Death (O is for Orgasm), is here perfected. The sound is rich, intrusive, stunning, and arguably more intimidating than any visual in the feature. The talented duo should beware that their strong sense of style has the capacity to get in the way of other aspects of the film. Long sequences of more vanguard imagery and narrative have the potential to detract rather than add to the film as a whole. In a feature so proud to leave its narrative unannounced for the viewer’s delectation, it is still possible to push the confusion too far.
Vagina-shaped stab wounds, black fedoras, mysterious figures in red veils, its all here in this lovingly told uber-giallo feature. By the end you won’t really know what’s happening, but that doesn’t matter. Every shot is perfect, every sound so tangible it makes your skin crawl, whilst the confusion and horror at its heart make it one of the most entrancing experiences you’ll have this year.
Dir: Helene Cattet & Bruno Forzani
Stars: Klaus Tange, Ursula Bedena, Joe Koener, Jean-Michel Vovk