In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Strange Colours.

Bruno Forzani & Hélène Cattet, the French duo behind 2009's Amer are back with another giallo love-letter aptly named The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears.

After Dan (Klaus Tange) returns from a business trip to find his wife has disappeared, his reality becomes increasingly more fragmented.

I'm sad to say I was disappointed with this film. I liked Amer quite a bit, but always wished it had a more coherent narrative to go along with its lush presentation. Unfortunately, Strange Colour had even less story, and what there was – with its looping madness and labyrinthine apartment passages – made Dario Argento's Inferno seem sensible by comparison. What really baffled me is that, at the following Q&A, Forzani said they'd been working on the script since 2002. I find that hard to believe, as it seemed like something that could've been banged out in an afternoon. This feeling wasn't helped by the fact that when someone asked a question relating to the story, Forzani's response was;

“Watch it again, and you'll see.”

Now, I'd never overestimate the intelligence of movie-going audiences, but I'm pretty sure that if you've done your job right, you should be able to get what you need from a single viewing. That's just me. If Forzani & Cattet were going for some sort of sex and death parable, there are much better ways to do it while still remaining indelibly abstract.

That said, every visual and audio aspect of the film was impeccable. The film was washed out in lovely reds, blues and greens and possessed the finest sound design I'll probably experience all year. The music, culled from many classic Italian thrillers, was, of course, fantastic, as well. All of these enhancements could've set the stage for something really remarkable, but it didn't. It just seems to me that Forzani & Cattet had a whole bunch of visual ideas they wanted to do and just tried to shoehorn them into a film. It's not successful and ended up becoming laughably absurd.

A large ingredient of a giallo is tension, correct? Well, there's almost none to be had here. Don't get me wrong, there's tons of potential for it, but the screen doesn't focus on anything long enough to create any. Even the situations that did – one featured a women listening to a room through a stethoscope, and another had a weirdly animated chase through wallpaper(!) – weren't shot in a way as to maximize said effect. I mean, it's like they were deliberately testing the patience of the viewer at some points.

Director Bruno Forzani.

I feel these two really need a third person to come in and write for them, as there's no reason why they couldn't apply their amazing sensory talents to an actual story. It may very well be they have no interest in going the traditional route and, if that's the case, I wish them well. I don't think I can follow them any further down their rabbit hole.

*TIFF image courtesy of Kurt Halfyard @triflic.


Belial Bradley said...

That's the biggest slam you have done in a movie review.

Jay Clarke said...

Au contraire, Quaker. I was way more unkind to All Cheerleaders Die a few days ago. At least Strange Colours had some artistic merit.