Review of The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears

by William Burns

Knowing my proclivity for anything Euro horror, HNN staff member Blood E. Bastard notified me that this tribute to 70’s Italian thrillers was now streaming on Netflix. Though giallos are known for their style over substance presentation, The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears pushes this aesthetic to often beautifully absurd extremes. The film focuses on Dan Kristensen, who, upon returning from a business trip, discovers his wife Edwige has disappeared. The search for his missing spouse reveals the sordid lives and twisted obsessions of his neighbors living in his rococo apartment building. As layer upon layer of the mystery is peeled back, lust, murder, and insanity are splattered across the screeen. Directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani fashion a dazzling and disorientating approach, equal parts elegant and surrealistic. All the giallo fetishes are on display: straight razors, naked flesh, voyeurism, leather, eyeballs, kinky sex, childhood trauma, and flowing blood.  Referencing almost every Dario Argento film as well as the works of Mario Bava and  Sergio Martino, The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears also shows kinship to the works of Luis Bunuel and David Lynch (in particular the first half of Lost Highway). Though visually stunning and aurally complex, the movie is one of the vaguest films ever made, with no boundaries between reality, fantasy, dream, or delusion. The use of repetition, through theoretically intriguing, can become boring and lazy quite quickly. Luckily, the over-saturated set pieces and intricate shot construction are often ingenious if not breathtaking as Cattet and Foranzi clearly understand and love the giallo genre and succeed in making a stylish form of film even more stylish and abstract. They even use the classic film music of Ennio Morricone, Nico Fidenco, and Bruno Nicolai to invoke that special skewed giallo atmosphere.  If you are looking for a tightly plotted detective procedural then don’t watch this film. Its vagaries will drive you mad. But if you are a fan of visually arresting 70’s Euro sleaze filled with nonsensical hallucinations of aberrant sex and brutal violence, then The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears should fit you like a pair of black gloves. 


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