Directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani
After the widely well-received French-Italian thriller Amer delighted filmgoers on the film festival circuit, co-writers/directors Bruno Forzani and Hélène Cattat are back with yet another loving ode to the Giallo subgenre with their follow-up, The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears, which once again ventures back to a time when Italian horror films were in their prime.
Opting for striking visceral imagery over narrative consistency, the intentional absurdity begins with a flashback to the death of a naked woman in bed, who is stabbed to death by a mysterious man wearing the obligatory black leather gloves shown in typical Gialli.
The film then rapidly switches gears and introduces us to our male protagonist, Dan Kristensen (Tange), a businessman who has come home to his beautiful apartment only to find out that his wife is missing. With a detective’s help, he tries to solve the mystery and uncover the many mesmeric secrets of the tenants that live in the building as well, while also having terrifying and sexualized dreams, which leads them on a menacing descent down a gory rabbit hole that instantly puts them in peril. What ensues is an inexplicable horror film experience that will wow some while making the rest of the crowd scratch their heads out of utter confusion.
As soon as the title The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears appears on the screen in a bright Giallo-inspired aesthetic and the blaring sound of an authentic 70’s horror soundtrack fills the theatre, it is clear that Forzani and Cattat’s intention is to make an accurate throwback to the Giallo era—albeit that is the only comprehensible thing this movie truly has to offer because although its “style over substance” feel is extremely beneficial to the stunning cinematography and sound design, it is unfavorable in terms of plot coherency, character establishment and overall enjoyment of the film for viewers unfamiliar with the directors’ dreamlike-style of directing.
Convoluted plot points aside, the film is a visionary accomplishment, replete with blood-soaked imagery that is hard to look away from. For instance, one of the set pieces involves an “eye-popping” kill that it is safe to say has never been depicted on screen before and will definitely be respected by even the most jaded of viewers.
The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is certainly this year’s wild card in the Toronto International Film Festival programme. It will be treasured by the easily nostalgic and loathed by the mainstream crowd. No matter what your initial thoughts of The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears are, there is no denying that this deeply flawed, yet equally beautiful Giallo will have viewers talking long after the credits have rolled.
3 out of 5