CELLULOID SCREAMS – Review: The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears

Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani are renowned for their crazy giallo-style films that focus on style over substance. The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is certainly an overwhelming visual shock to the system but overall a tedious nightmare I thought would never end.

The film starts off promisingly with a hint of plot and some beautiful camera manipulation. Dan Kristensen comes home from a business to trip to find his wife missing and the door locked from the inside. He begins to investigate and an old woman from upstairs gives him a clue as to the secrets of their building. “There are other ways to get in and out of your apartment”, and she tells the story of how her husband was taken by something hidden in-between the walls.

So far, so good. Unfortunately, the film then takes a turn for the worst and decides to put all its efforts into abstract visual skilfulness and leave the plot at the old woman’s front door. We are left with a bunch of sequences that barely scrape by as relevant but admittedly look amazing. A great black and white sequence plays out where a woman is stalked by a leather-clad Heisenberg shadow man who stabs her in the head from above. This is a stunning part of the film, but why the hell is it there? Even when you try to just accept the weirdness and watch it for its beauty, it becomes too frustrating because you’ve been teased with a plot and every time you think you’re getting somewhere you’re thrown back to square one.

There is a scene that tested my patience to the nth degree where Kristensen keeps waking up and walking around his apartment, only to get stabbed and then have the alarm go off again and he’s back in bed waking up. We watch the same thing play out slightly differently each time and by the end of the long, long sequence you’re biting your fist in frustration because it’s no longer interesting or curiosity-grabbing; it’s a pain in the bloody arse. This type of rage slowly builds as the film progresses and it becomes a test of mettle as to whether you can actually sit there and take the madness any longer. There is only so much attractive camera work can do before it gets tiring and pointless, and this is why the film loses so much of its credibility and becomes a source of annoyance rather than delight.

There is of course a fan base out there that will lap this film up, but it isn’t one for your average film goer. I tried my best to like it, I really did, but there are just some things in life you’ve got to accept aren’t for you regardless of the amount of time you spend googling “reasons to like The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears.”