Returning home from a trip, Dan Kristensen discovers his wife has gone missing and there appears to be no sign of a struggle or foul play. To find his wife, Dan has to go on a psychosexual journey where the tenants of the apartment building know more than they appear to and add more pieces to this already bizarre puzzle. He has to uncover the lurid and murderous history of his building, before he becomes the next victim of this unidentified killer.
Even though I have not seen the first giallo-homage, "Amer", from directing duo Bruno Forzani and Hélène Cattet, I was looking forward to "The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears" because word of mouth was favorable for the movie. Much to my disappoint, Forzani and Cattet seemed to be much more fixated on creating a style piece where the giallo elements, and everything else, fell by the wayside as the movie became lost to its own shallow eccentricity.
Dan Kristensen returns home from a trip to find that his wife has gone missing. With nothing to indicate foul play, Dan begins a frantic search for his wife in his apartment building where each meeting with a tenant adds another piece to this bizarre puzzle. Dan begins to break down, mentally, when a detective becomes involved and uncovers evidence that indicts Dan as the lead suspect in his wife's disappearance. In an attempt to uncover the truth, Dan soon finds himself on a psychosexual journey and discovers the lurid and murderous history of his own apartment building.
I don't mind movies where they put more of an emphasis on the visual aspect instead of the narrative, but in those cases, the visuals have to be bold and expressive or else there has to be something else there. Something more, something that can support the material. It's obvious that Forzani and Cattet had a goal of creating a modern "Suspiria" -esque movie with "The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears".
And that's something you won't hear me saying very often as I'm one of those few rare people that do not like "Suspiria" and believe Dario Argento receives far more credit than he actually deserves. I wouldn't go for as to say he's overrated but I don't believe his work is as influential as his hardcore fans would like to believe, but I digress.
There is no denying a strong inspiration from Argento in "The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears" and that there was a desire to create a movie that has a demanding visual presence for a genre title. The problem though is that with the movie, and many others like it, is there is simply too much focus put on the visuals and the idea of creating something that is unconventional. If you want your visuals to tell the story then the visuals need to be able to do that but they need convey the concepts and the emotions of the film. Which does not occur within "The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears" at any point.
There is little to no material within the movie: the story is a stripped down version of the typical plot of strange things happening within the walls of an apartment building, which causes the psychological breakdown of the main character. A very simplistic story we've seen many times before but, in this case, the visuals were intended to fill in the gaps and give "The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears" the support it desperately needed. However, at some point, the style of the movie and the visuals became dictated by the simple notion of, "Let's do this because that would be weird." There's no denying that some of visuals are nice, but there is no reason, no direction and no depth to what is shown.
Everything within the movie is produced from the misguided notion of being artistic and that becomes a problem because there is nothing occurring within the visuals that serve any greater purpose other than, "Look at all the pretty colors!" It comes across as being unimaginative. It is imitating films that are often deemed as arthouse without ever understanding what that actually means. What is necessary for those films to work and exist as they do. "The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears" comes across as arthouse-light; shallow and derivative work that's easy to consume for the general viewer.
And it's simply because there is no value in the images that they created. Is it a creative movie? Sure. Forzani and Cattet certainly have an eye for composition and they did go out on a limb to try and make something a little more unique. As opposed to making a homage that does nothing other than play off of clichés. Again though, they chose to only focus on the visual aspect and it shows. Everything else is meaningless fluff, which would be fine, if those visuals could sustain the needs of the movie but they don't. It makes it inherently frustrating to watch because it would have been so easy for the visuals to connect with the mental degradation of the main character, but not even that was achieved. The visuals are not only disconnected from the story and characters, but they form no connection to each other.
"The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears" is like watching a random collection of visual experimentations; there is no connectivity from scene to scene and there's simply no meaning. It is a shallow style piece that has nothing to offer other than a film that is lost to its own eccentricities. It has ideas and it has the means to be the bold creative film that it wants to be, but it does not have the understanding or knowledge to actually make it work. I think Forzani and Cattet have what it takes to make the kind of movie that they want to because they have the talent but they don't quite have the knowledge or experience yet, it seems.