Writer/directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani resurrected the giallo in style with the visually gorgeous Amer. Expectations were high for their elaborately-titled follow-up; another giallo-esque mystery that will bewitch and alienate in equal measure.
Dan Kristensen (Klaus Tange) returns to his apartment in Paris to find his front door bolted from the inside and his wife missing. His search for her will take him into the deepest reaches of his subconscious and into the labyrinth that is his apartment building.
Lovers of logical narrative structure be warned: The Strange Colour Of Your Body’s Tears is not concerned with making sense. This is a beautiful, multi-sensory experience that makes sure the viewer is in over his or her head as they are barraged with lights, colours and noises that dazzle the sense. Cattet and Forzani’s refusal to move at anyone’s pace or in any direction but their own is occasionally infuriating, but there’s no doubting the strength of their vision.
While Amer was a more straightforward giallo, this is something different; an arthouse erotic mystery. Cattet and Forzani make sure that the ground beneath both him and the audience is constantly shifting. Each sequence feels like a chapter from a different book, while somehow sitting neatly alongside each other. One of the best takes place early on as a mysterious old woman relates how her husband disappeared into the space in the ceiling.
Threatening but comic, it feels like something from a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film. By contrast, a later sequence is constructed by stop-motion photography and has the sensation of a Lynchian nightmare.
There’s no doubt that this is a film with limited appeal. Many will be put off by its continuous attempts to confuse the viewer, while others may dismiss the combination of inaccessibility and repeated erotic imagery as arthouse masturbation.
The 100-minute running time is too long, and several sequences could have been cut down. However, for those willing to surrender themselves to Cattet and Forzani’s vision, this is a cinematic feast for the senses that will disorientate, beguile and stun.