In Review: The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears

by Josh Slater-Williams on 10/04/2014


Before even watching a frame of the work in question, genre-savvy film enthusiasts will likely gather from its title that The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is a tribute to giallo cinema, a form of Italian thriller fuelled with fantastical horror and eroticism that was host to striking film names such as Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972). Giallo is very much the defining motif of directing duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s work to date, their lone prior feature film being the fairly widely praised Amer (2009). Elsewhere, their rather abstract “O is for Orgasm” short, part of horror anthology The ABCs of Death (2012), borrowed the bold colour palettes of Dario Argento’s prime for a sensory overload heavy on the eroticism.

Things start off promisingly, as a man (Klaus Tange) returns home from a business trip to find his wife missing and apartment wrecked, and then hears a story of murder from an oddball neighbour that is genuinely unnerving and transfixing in its visual execution. The problem comes when myriad other figures queue up to share further sadistic stories, all remarkably similar. “What does this have to do with my wife?” the lead asks, after the second or third tale.

The visual and aural vocabulary stays largely the same, as hollow exploration of voyeurism and sadism plays on loop for the remainder of the running time, scenes often just being worse remixes of exact shots from earlier on. What starts as sensory overload quickly numbs and goodwill built up by the admittedly stellar technical work eventually fades. In the end, ‘The Strange Colour…’ and its distillation of giallo offers little thematic nourishment or depth, only an annoying, assaultive slog.

As much as it throws in references to other films, outright incorporating famous musical pieces from the genre’s past, ‘The Strange Colour…’ is less giallo pastiche and more a deconstruction of the style. In its heavy focus on cinematic textures above all, the film almost operates like a feature length counterpart to “O for Orgasm”, though with the eroticism being joined by the very gory slaughter that defines the genre. Unfortunately, its fidgety focus and relentless piling of often shallow visual symbolism make it evident that perhaps this too should have just been a short.

Josh has awarded The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears two Torches of Truth


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