The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears

2013 [FRENCH]

Horror / Mystery / Thriller

IMDb Rating 6 10 3575

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932.17 MB
French 2.0
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1 hr 41 min
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French 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 41 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Red-Barracuda 6 / 10

Visually amazing but a little unengaging

Writer-directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani are the duo responsible for Amer. That film shares a great deal of similarities with their latest feature, The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears. Both use the iconography and music of the Italian giallo films of the 1970's as the basic ingredients to construct an art film. Motifs familiar to fans of the genre include a character called Edwige, a black leather gloved assassin, retro phones, gaudy décor, early 70's looking women and a distinct lack of 21st century technology. We also have a soundtrack made up of a variety of music from 70's gialli – amongst others there are choice cuts from Killer Nun (1978) and All the Colors of the Dark (1972). Even its title is a knowing nod to the gloriously convoluted names that early 70's gialli often went under. Amer was made up of three parts, the middle section having no giallo influence at all; alternatively, The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears is fully focused on a giallo influence from start to finish. But make no mistake, this film like its predecessor is really not a giallo per se. It uses the imagery and music from the genre in a highly experimental manner. Consequently, this is not a story-driven film in the least. It's all about the look and feel.

Frankly, I found the story to be pretty incomprehensible to be perfectly honest. In brief summary, it's about a man who returns home to his apartment to find it locked from the inside and his wife mysteriously gone; his subsequent investigations lead to a variety of very strange events. It is pretty episodic, with some parts being more successful than others. While the film is overwhelmingly beautiful to look at, a problem I had with it was that its story and characters were very unengaging. This meant that it wasn't always easy keeping your attention on events. The cinematography is really very, very good though; if anything even more impressive than in Amer. The widescreen is used to its full extent, there is interesting framing, the use of colour is fabulous, there is inventive use of split-screen and black and white is interspersed with colour. It's consistently inventive and often quite gorgeous. But it is so pronounced and relentless that after a bit you almost feel tired-out by it. And because there are such distant, unengaging characters involved in such an incomprehensible story, this means that the beautiful imagery doesn't always amount to as much as it could if there was something we could empathise with going on.

But don't get me wrong, the imagery is extremely alluring at times and there is an interesting atmosphere of mystery generated some of the time. In terms of visual artistry, this is rather good but as a thriller, it can try your patience. Overall, it's another very worthwhile effort from Cattet and Forzani but I sort of wish the next time they would employ their undoubted visual artistry around a thriller with a plot-line we can engage with more. If they can do that, then they could make something extraordinary. This one, impressed me in some ways but left me a somewhat frustrated as well.

Reviewed by gorbadoc25 6 / 10

Beautiful, but exhausting art film

I attended the Belgian premiere of 'L'Étrange Couleur des Larmes de ton Corps' at Film Fest Gent 2013 after reading that the film would be a homage to the giallo genre and therefore would contain music by Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai (in my opinion the two best film composers there are). The only giallo I have seen until now is 'Suspiria', though I'm familiar with the names of some of the directors and actresses and also some of the titles through the work of Morricone and Nicolai. I undoubtedly missed a lot of references, but of course I understood that the name of Dan's wife, Edwige, was no coincidence :)

I was ready to immerse myself in a pure genre film, but it was still quite a challenging trip. On the plus side, the film is beautifully shot, with great use of extremely vivid colours and interior (Dan's breathtaking house by - I assume - Horta) and exterior locations (the Law Courts of Brussels). Much thought has also been put into the editing, the sound design and the choice of wonderful Italian film music. On a technical/aesthetic level, this movie is a triumph.

On the downside, the script is deliberately disorienting, which is even reinforced by most of the shots being exhausting close-ups. Some sequences/parts of the story are too short (the bearded man taking pictures of beautiful women, which is never explained), while others last too long (the sequence where Dan wakes up 20 times thanks to an incredibly irritating door bell that rings about 100 times). Although the story is thin, it's often confusing and hard to follow and the film's conclusion is rather unsatisfying.

All in all, this clearly is more of an art film than a narrative film, so while this means that it's beautiful to look at from start to finish, the story leaves much too be desired.

Reviewed by TheDelusionist 7 / 10

Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani's The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (2013)

Dan Kristensen (Klaus Tange) returns home one day and discovers that his wife Edwige has disappeared. Dan starts investigating Edwige's disappearance and the strange and mysterious places and people of his apartment complex. Did she leave him? Is she dead? Also, what the hell is going on with his creepy neighbors? Of course the police can't help him, they just don't believe him. Soon his search and obsession cause him to descent into a world of madness. Fact and fiction become harder to distinguish. Dreams and nightmares intertwine with reality until they become one and the same. Will he ever find his wife's killer? Is there a killer? Who's the killer?

Written & directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears is a natural progression from their 'ABCs of Death' segment O is for Orgasm. The similarities aren't only on a surface level (cinematography, editing), but also on a thematic level, L'ètrange couleur des larmes de ton corps (original title) represents both an evolution and maturation for the two auteurs. Not only is this a very entertaining and visceral film, but it's also a complicated, surreal story. The narration is anything but linear or straightforward. Forzani explained that they are both inspired by the Italian Giallo, but also by Satoshi Kon. Cattet also cited Brian De Palma as an influence.

The characters in The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears have a way of relating to the space around them reminiscent of Michelangelo Antonioni's work (namely L'Eclisse). The '70s score, borrowed directly from Italian films creates a playful, but at the same time scary mood, while the loud sound mixing and the entrancing imagery enable the viewer to be transported into the film's world. Even if the story is anything but clear on a first viewing, the film is always interesting to watch and experience on a purely sensorial level (much like a David Lynch film). Like Amer, this film more than just a love letter to Italian cinema, it's a work of art that stands on its own. There are throwback qualities to it, but the film works for a modern audience as well.

What I appreciated and take away most from complex films like this one are the cinematography (à la Tutti i colori del buio), the tone and atmosphere and the fantastic soundtrack. While it loses some of its pace in the second act, it returns with a fury in the last act, with flashbacks, black & white sequences (with an altered frames per second rate) and all sorts of violent crazy stuff happening. It is a very re-watchable film, especially because it's difficult to fully understand on a first viewing (or ever?). I was a little bit let down by the poor character development in the film, though I realize that wasn't the film's intent or goal, still I like to have relatable characters beyond their physical appearance, accent and attire.

Personally, I'd say this is a step up from Amer and so I can only be excited for anything the two will do in the future. I recommend this film if you enjoyed previous work from Cattet & Forzani, you like the films or directors I've mentioned or just want to try something new. This is definitely a film best enjoyed in theaters (even if people walking out are annoyingly distracting), if you watch it at home make sure you have a good sound system: That's how the directors intended you to view their picture.

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