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us title: The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears
italian title:
year: 2013
director: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani
composer: Various
full details: IMDB
overall score: 59

Bottom Line: Entertaining
Nothing ground breaking here, but a fun time nonetheless.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

score analysis

Where do I even begin with this film? There have been several attempts to recreate the Giallo in recent times and after testing the waters with their debut film Amer, directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani follow up with a brilliantly photographed, hallucinogenic nightmare called The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears.

What Have You Done to Solange?

Forty-plus years after the genre's heyday, it's impossible to expect that any modern attempt at crafting a Giallo would be 100% original. The genre relies heavily on mood, and the visuals and music used in Strange Color are direct reproductions from the films that inspired it. So much in fact that viewing the film becomes a scavenger hunt for all the hidden (and not so hidden) references to Gialli of days past. 

Le Orme

This is a good thing because the film is difficult to sit through on its own. And while Strange Colors might look and sound like a Giallo, it doesn't behave like one. The incredibly loose narrative barely connects the characters and scenes and it feels more like a David Lynch film than anything else. Instead of a semi-coherent plot of the typical Giallo that provides tangible (albeit ridiculous) clues to the mystery at hand, Strange Color will have you asking "Who? What? and Where?" all the way to the end of the film and long after the credits roll.

Strage Vice of Mrs. Wardth

Nevertheless, the film lights up in several places on the Giallo Score earning nearly 60 points - no small task for a Belgian film from 2013. Frankly, the film could have scored much higher if it weren't for the staggering amount of ambiguity inherent in the narrative and I have to admit that I was a bit liberal with some of the criteria. Was the body count 3 or higher? Um, er, I think so. Were there more than 2 suspects? Um, maybe. I mean virtually every character on the screen could be seen as a suspect and a victim at the same time.

All the Colors of the Dark

Of course no good Giallo is complete without a good soundtrack and Strange Colors provides this by proxy, lifting full compositions from the likes of Morricone, Nicolai and Ortolani. But these soundtracks are tastefully incorporated into the film and the songs seem to fall to the side of homage rather than plagiarism. I think Cattet and Forzani realized that it was better to borrow than create for this aspect of the film. Shit, Tarantino has been doing it for years!

Deep Red

Strange Colors is a cinematographer and film editor's wet dream. It represents the bleeding edge of what's possible in cinema without heavy reliance on CGI. Every self respecting film buff or aspiring film maker should watch it for that reason only. As a Giallo, there are times when the narrative leaks out and offers a handle of comprehension to grab on to, only to dissolve a few seconds later. Had more priority been given to developing the script, the film might have become a modern Giallo masterpiece. But it suffers a little from its own prioritization on style which forces you to pay very close attention and think outside your comfort zone - a request that most Gialli do not make.

Deep Red, again!

Ultimately it's difficult to decide on a recommendation for this film. It lies somewhere between "Entertaining" and "For Completists Only" and in this case the distinction lies more with the viewer than the film itself. I think every Giallo enthusiast should see the film. Whether it's entertaining enough to demand follow up viewings depends on your level of patience and appreciation for interpretive filmmaking.

Return to the Score Listings

score breakdown

Hint: Hover over a score item for more details
Staples : 35/60
Hidden Identity10 points
Black Gloves5 points
Amateur Detective5 points
Motivation: Psychological Trauma/Revenge10 points
Director > 15 points
Standards : 18/30
Body Count >= 34 points
Flashback Revelation3 points
Nude Scene >= 13 points
Suspects >= 34 points
Urban Location4 points
Signatures : 6/10
Airplane1 point
Dolls/Dummies1 point
Odd Clue1 point
Photography/Glamor/Modeling/Art1 point
Spiral Stairs1 point
Taunting1 point
Total Points : 59/100



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Published: 2015-07-27