Share story

The Italian horror/sex genre giallo, popularized by directors like Mario Bava in the 1970s, uses elements of nightmare within its narrative, but the narrative itself is fairly straightforward. “The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears,” a French-language homage to the genre by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani (“Amer”), is less narrative and more nightmare. It’s dreamscape: an art-house version of the exploitation flick.

It’s also boring. The way other people’s dreams can be boring.

As Dan (Klaus Tange) returns to Paris from a business trip, we see, intercut, a woman involved in kinky sex games gone awry.

At home, Dan’s wife, Edwige (an homage to giallo actress Edwige Fenech), is missing, yet the apartment door is chained from inside. How?

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Dan searches, obsessed, anxious. A detective shows up, suspicious. A neighbor in apartment 7 sits in the shadows and talks of how her husband went missing. She blames the apartment above, but when Dan ascends the stairs he’s on the roof, where a naked woman stands on the ledge. They share a cigarette.

Does Dan wake with his wife’s head in his bed? Does he wake to get slashed in the back? Is he awake? Do we care?

The movie, suffused in reds and greens, includes many close-ups of male eyes in panic or desire, and women, losing clothes or encased in fetishistic gloves, forever out of reach.

I found a few lines and images in the second half intellectually stimulating, but it wasn’t enough. “Strange Color” exploited little but my patience.

Erik Lundegaard:

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.