The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears Screen 11 articles

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears

2013

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears Poster
  • If Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani were musicians, their songs would consist of choruses repeated ad infinitum; if they wrote novels, their words would exist only to further rising actions; and if they're sticks in the mud, as I suspect, they may deem the angles in Orson Welles's oeuvre to be not canted enough... This second feature-length fiction from the Belgian husband-and-wife duo confirms that their style is nothing if not shtick.

  • There was a moody elegance to Cattet and Forzani’s [Amer] that struck a formidable balance between madness and grace. Sadly, the same cannot be said for their disjointed and shallow follow-up, The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears. Gone is any semblance of narrative, replaced by a ramshackle psychodrama that takes a basic premise (man looking for his missing wife) and splinters off into multiple giallo-infused threads.

  • For the audience, it becomes immediately apparent that that Strange Color is nothing more than a hyperbolic exercise in aural and visual splendor. Shots rarely last for more than a few seconds, thankfully; the dizzying repetition of close ups, zooms and askew angles narrowly produces motion sickness in its frequency. The problem for the uninitiated, which will be most, is that even though there is beauty it is gradually obscured by diminishing returns.

  • The cubistic repetition and excess almost have more in common with avant-garde deconstructions of genre than with anything else, and, in a way, this might be the most radically narrative-flouting feature to receive a theatrical run in some time. But in the filmmakers’ mapping out of fears and desires, there’s something plain and tedious to their obsessiveness. It’s all a little like being chained to their editing console while they rerun their favorite sequences.

  • Delectably Amer-ican for the first half hour or so, in part because every new person the protagonist meets launches into a story, depicted in crazily stylized digressive interludes. (The one with the elderly couple and the hole in the ceiling is all kinds of dementedly virtuosic.) Alas, Forzani and Cattet eventually commit to their meaningless narrative, at which point the movie becomes a really bad case of diminishing returns, feeling much longer than it is.

  • [Cattet and Forzani's] latest, shot digitally with no apparent loss of Argento-grade lushness, is more bloody, with multiple stabbings, but there's no denying a dampening of enthusiasm after the giddy-making Amer. Groovy soundtrack cues by Ennio Morricone and others do the work.

  • The points at which the plot’s eddies, loops, and blind alleys cause either film to lose momentum are easily forgiven in light of the gloriously irrational and intoxicating nature of their set-pieces, of which The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears contains their most superb to date. Here and elsewhere, there’s a feeling that the team have successfully adapted the giallo film to their own purposes rather than merely recreated its poetic cruelties.

  • An assault on the eyes and ears, knottier and less seductive than Amer (less music, too); still overpowering, and quite literally indescribable. It can only be experienced.

  • Sometimes The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears—the Gerard Manley Hopkins–esque title suggests more of a stylistic attitude than any tip-off to the plot—plays like five Dario Argento movies spliced together into a dreamy music video epic. But the filmmakers’ winking fusion of homage, subjective slipperiness, and outrageous genre gotchas is obviously a cohesive vision, answering the artists’ obsessions.

  • Where Amer could at times feel like an academic excavation of subterranean genre subtexts, The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears is bent on replicating (and outdoing) the sheer sensory delirium of those films, to the point of madly repeating and reshuffling its own psychedelic imagery. The results unspool, fascinatingly, as a deluge of anchorless footage from some not quite finished horror opus, piercing the viewer’s psyche by sheer agglutination.

  • Cattet and Forzani certainly impress, so much so that The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is admirable and worthwhile for its formal bravura alone. A bombastic mosaic, the film at times resembles a work of avant-garde surrealism, a jolting David Lynchian whodunit by way of Luis Buñuel or Kenneth Anger.

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