In recent years, France have made some very thought provoking horror films. In an age where CGI-laden drivel seems to dominate film landscape. I had heard about a French Giallo film playing in Boston, entitled The Strange Color Of You Body’s Tears. I immediately took an interest, and could not wait to see a French interpretation of Giallo. In a time span of less than 2 hours however, I wish I hadn’t wasted my time.
The first 10 minutes of the film captured my interest almost immediately. The opening scene involved a Black gloved killer wielding a knife. A signature trademark for not only a lot of Dario Argento’s films, but a lot of Giallo. The film is about the disappearance of the wife of a Telecommunications worker named Dan, and his attempt to find out what happened to her. Confined within the walls of his apartment building, he begins to break down. It’s also his journey to discover what’s happening to his mind, and the film fails from this moment on…..miserably.
Visually it’s intriguing, with its’ use of bright colors, several underlying plots, and multiple camera angles. However, Giallo is a sub genre that is heavily plot driven. The story in this one shifts it’s tone, about every 15 minutes. Something like this certainly works for experimental film, but not a thriller. I’m going to safely assume that the writer and director for this one, never heard of Agatha Christie.
There is one fun game to play, which I call ‘Spot the obvious reference to a Dario Argento film’
1) When Dan enters his apartment in the films beginning, he opens a closet to reveal a pair of bright red high heeled shoes (Tenebrae)
2) He discovers a reel of audio tape wrapped in a children’s drawing, that the camera holds its focus on. (Deep Red)
3) The several scenes with Black gloves and a knife are a staple of many Giallo films. There is one scene in particular, that caught my attention. Dan’s wife is stabbed with a knife in her genitals. The penetration isn’t shown, but the splatter of blood is. This was done in The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, but I should also point out that the shot ended before the knife made contact with the victim.
4) The Doll next to the Red high heels bears a striking similarity to the doll from Deep Red
5) The genital stabbing sequence I mentioned earlier, is shown in the beginning of the film. It’s shown several times throughout the course of the story. It Gradually gets longer each time it occurs, which includes the stabbing the 2nd or 3rd time its shown. It’s depicted in a hazy,distorted, dream like state, very much like the one from Four Flies On Grey Velvet.
In conclusion, there’s no need to make a film more complex than it has to be. This one almost seems to be trying to be something it can’t be. As I mentioned before, the visual elements are impressive, but you need a plot and suspense for a Giallo film to be effective.
Leave Giallo to the Italian filmmakers.