In celebration of the 40th anniversary of TIFF, I will be revisiting one film from each year I attended the festival. Please be aware that these discussions may include SPOILERS.
If there is a theme for the 24 films that I saw at TIFF in 2013, it is that many of them were weird. This was a year, where I saw films such as The Double, Under the Skin, Jodorowsky’s Dune, and A Field in England. Probably the most weird and jarring of those films was Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani giallo homage The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears, which is the film that I decided to revisit.
The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is exemplary of the goals of TIFF’s Vanguard programme, which is described as Midnight Madness’ “cooler, older sister,” which mixes art films with genre. This programme consists of films, which aren’t necessarily meant to be crowd pleasing and might actually be quite jarring. This was indeed the case for The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears, which resulted in many patrons walking out and me writing a think piece pondering why.
One thing that I noticed watching this for a second time is that The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is much less effective when watched on a small screen. The sound effects were not as piercing this time around and I even admit to dozing off a bit in the first act of the film, which isn’t particularly all that exciting.
I also realized that, even though The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is heavily influenced by Italian giallo films, it is also very much its own thing. The film features some very rapid editing and a heavy use of split screens and it is just as much an avant garde film than a horror film. I’ve seen the film twice now and I can’t really say that I fully understand what is actually happening in this film. I know that it involves a guy trying to find out what happened to his wife, but the film just gets weirder from there.
I can completely understand why this is a film that people would walk out of, because it is as far from conventional as they come. In fact, despite featuring coloured lighting and killers wearing black gloves, The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is different enough from actual giallos that even the most hardcore fans of Dario Argento might end up being turned off by the film.
I will say that The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is not necessarily a film that I like for its story. In fact, it is a bit dull in that regards. However, I do like how the film is edited together, with it having some real artistic merit. I’m not sure if I will watch the film a third time, but is not a film that has to be completely ignored.