Review: ‘The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears’ is a murky mystery

A scene from ‘The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears’
A scene from “The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears.”

Writers-directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani first garnered attention in 2010 with “Amer,” a film that paid homage to giallo, the Italian horror of the 1960s and ‘70s. They revisit the subgenre with “The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears,” and though this work seems fairly textbook for that school of filmmaking, for the uninitiated it’s a whodunit head-scratcher. Congratulations to anyone who on first viewing can figure out who, in fact, did it.

Dan Kristensen (Klaus Tange) returns from a business trip and finds that his wife is missing, the apartment vacant and its door chained from the inside. He gets on the intercom and frantically buzzes neighbors to find who last saw her. Far from being helpful, Dora (Birgit Yew) recounts the disappearance of her own spouse, and Det. Vincentelli (Jean-Michel Vovk) relates his past private investigative work in diffuse, excursive flashbacks.

Deliberately mixing fantasy, reality, doppelgängers and spatial relationships, the film disorients and spooks like the works of David Lynch. Yet it’s more stylized than atmospheric, with split-screens, extreme close-ups and dramatic lighting recalling the films of Pedro Almodóvar. Above all, its gratuitous graphic gore and exploitative nudity are unmistakably giallo. What “The Strange Color” lacks is the heart that separates a good film from a great one.



‘The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears’

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes.

Playing: At Arena Cinema, Hollywood.


Get our weekly Indie Focus newsletter