After watching The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, you’ll probably have a lengthy discussion with your viewing partner about style versus substance. That is if your partner hasn’t fallen asleep or left the theatre in a rage. It's the sort of film that will likely sharply divide its audiences. It's either a beautifully poetic, deeply intellectual masterpiece or pretentious trash depending on who you ask.
The story for what there is (and what there is is very little) concerns a man, Dan (Klaus Tange), who comes home from a business trip to find his apartment door locked from the inside and his wife missing. He spends the rest of the film going door to door in his complex talking to his increasingly bizarre neighbors trying to find her.
With that simple plot, directors Hélène Cattetand Bruno Forzani have created a stylish, visually stunning, completely mesmerizing, and nearly incomprehensible film. It's a crazed fever dream full of bold colors, deep shadows, disturbing violence, and rare beauty. It's a William S. Burroughs hallucination as interpreted by David Lynch.
To give you an idea of the film's strangeness, let's look at the first apartment he approaches while looking for his wife. Inside, a woman cloaked in shadows sits at an old chair with only her legs visible. She tells him a story of how her husband also disappeared in the complex. In our first flashback sequence, we see how her husband was obsessed with noises coming from the floor above them. He uses a stethoscope in order to listen closer. The lady makes too much noise so he ties her to the bed. Then gags her. Then shoots her up with a narcotic that knocks her completely out. When she awakes, he is gone and there is a small hole in the ceiling. He peers out of it and speaks in nervous tones about the goings-on up there. She listens. Blood drips.
Things get weirder from there. Dan visits more rooms and is periodically accosted by the local police. The plot is loosely held together but mostly the story is an excuse to show a wide array of techniques and styles, pushing the boundaries of what film can be.
I can honestly say I liked it while admitting I’m not likely to ever watch it again. It is gorgeously shot and really rather mesmerizing, but it's lack of an engaging story will put me off of ever wanting to run it through anytime soon. It's the sort of film I’m glad I watched and will likely keep talking about but only recommend to people who are truly interested in the art of film or looking for something to watch while ingesting hallucinogens.
The video of the Blu-ray looks quite wonderful. There is some noticeable grain in some scenes but as they were shot with very low light I believe it comes from the source material. There were no other noticeable artifacts or problems. Likewise the soundtrack is quite good. The music is just as creepy and strange as the film itself, and it is full and well rounded. The background noise and dialogue are equally as impressive.
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears is certainly not a film fit for everyone. With a story that only just barely exists and visual palette that runs wild with color and blood, your average filmgoer is just as likely to flip out as to tune in. Arthouse goers will likely love it, thought they might just as well consider it bourgeoisie bullshit. But if you like your films experimental and strange, this is well worth your time.