Sunday, 22 June 2014

Review: The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears

Year: 2013 (UK Release 2014)
Director: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Screenplay: Hélène Cattet Bruno Forzani
Starring: Klaus Tange, Ursula Bedena, Joe Koener

Synopsis is bizarre

Macabre directors; Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, who delivered sensual yet disconcerting Amer have returned with their second, giallo tinged feature length thriller. The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears reverses some of the elements of their 2009 debut, but retains the themes the duo are infatuated with, albeit with lesser results.  

With a narrative as convoluted as the film’s title, The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears follows Dan Kristensen (Klaus Tange); a disorientated fellow who tries to uncover the bizarre disappearance of his wife within his Brussels apartment building. Falling deeper down the rabbit hole, his findings only become more cryptic. Soon after, Dan begins to sense the feeling that he’s being watched, as do most people in a film like this one.

This deconstruction of the infamous Italian pulp genre, like Amer, displays two directors who are completely in sync with their vision in terms of craft. It’s difficult to fault the beautiful “ugliness” of the visuals (cinematographer Manuel Dacosse) or the pinpoint accuracy of the film's editing (Editor Bernard Beets’ makes you believe you saw more than you did), but with all the film’s fancy pants technique is lost upon the writer/director duo’s indulgent love for the opaque.

Countless sequences are repeated, narrative tangents lead to very little and the films violent and sexual transgressions never fully connect. Far too often the film feels unfocused in what it wants to say and what it is saying has been explored by other directors with less pretension. When talking in terms of the form, the film's placement in the giallo sub-genre raises an eyebrow. The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears looks superb, and often oozes with a tension that could be hard to gain from some of the more dated films it’s influenced from. A moment involving hands roaming inside a body, is troubling in a way only some horror films can be.

However, in a wider argument in terms of theme, the film is repackaging old ideas of male sexuality and voyeurism into glossy new wrapping paper and doing very little to see if you’re interested in the gift. While Amer’s focus on female sexuality felt provocative, The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears does very little to engage other than producing a few moments of distinctive moments of creepiness. It did, however, remind me that I really should pick up the remastered Peeping Tom (1960) Blu-Ray. So there’s that.