TIFF 2013 Review: THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY'S TEARS Will Break Your Brain

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor
Already well loved on the festival circuit for a string of stellar, giallo infused short films, Belgium based directing duo Bruno Forzani and Helene Cattet burst on to the international scene is spectacular fashion with their 2009 debut feature Amer. An overwhelming sensory experience, Amer established the duo as among the finest visual talents of our time, the visuals overwhelming as they took the influences of the classic films they loved and shaped them into a unique voice of their own. And now they return with their sophomore effort, The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears, which does the same only moreso.

The premise is simple: A man returns home from a business trip and discovers that his wife is missing. After failing to find her within the building he calls the police and slowly - thanks to the exceedingly odd story told to him by the exceedingly odd woman who lives upstairs - becomes increasingly obsessed with the idea that she has never left at all and whatever happened to her happened somewhere within the walls of the utterly gorgeous apartment building they call home.

It's a launching point that seems clear and simple on the page, so you would be forgiven for assuming that Strange Colour would be clear and simple on the screen as well. You would be wrong. Stunningly beautiful to look at, yes, with every frame filled with utterly gorgeous art direction. Immensely stylish? Oh, a big yes there as well, Forzani and Cattet pushing their camera movements, editing and sound design choices far into the forefront with frequently inspiring results. But simple? Straightforward? If that's what you're looking for you are in absolutely the wrong place.

Despite the simple premise The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears is, if anything, more experimental than was Amer. Time behaves oddly, logic seems to loop and fold back in on itself, the story splinters and diverges frequently. Like Amer, Strange Colour is meant to be an experience felt somewhere in the subconscious, the experience following some sort of dream logic as it becomes progressively odder and odder with the visuals and ultra-aggressive sound design combining for a potent sensory experience.

Laced with the sort of violence and sexual content that was the giallo movement's stock in trade - and again using a soundtrack with music lifted from classics of that age - it's tempting to reference Strange Colour as a sort of neo-giallo, a term applied frequently to its predecessor. But it's not, really. It's something else, a strange new language that uses those familiar elements as their base while going off in some other direction. And while it may very well be the case that Forzani and Cattet are the only ones who really speak that language at present - a fact that many will find frustrating as they try to work their way through it - there is a definite fascination with trying to unlock its mysteries.
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  • Brad Indaskys

    sounds great, thanks for the review!

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