The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013) – reviewed by George

In color: a man is sleeping sitting up on a train at night.
In black and white: a bound woman is teased with a knife. The torturer is never clearly shown.
Throughout the credits we shift back and forth between them, coming to recognize that the man and woman are married. In her final shot she screams, and the man has arrived at their apartment. She is, of course, not home, and he finds all his telephone messages from his trip unread (there are only four).
He has a few stiff drinks and begins disturbing neighbors for any clue regarding his wife’s whereabouts, but no one admits to knowing her. Then he finds a woman on the 7th floor who tells him that her husband, a doctor, disappeared a few days after retiring. They were making love when they were interrupted by a woman’s scream from the apartment above. She started calling the police, but her husband tied and gagged her and got his medical bag to give her a sedative. Before she passed out, he used an augur to bore a hole in their ceiling into the room above. When she came to, untied, he was in the apartment above demanding that she hand him matches. She started shoving fireplace matches up through the hole and he lit them and demanded more – he says he can’t see the way out. Then as she stares up at the hole, a single drop of blood falls onto her face, and she never sees or hears her husband again.
The film is certainly surreal, both in the set design reminiscent of the ’20s, and in the strange quality of the husband’s monomania (why didn’t he call the police first, instead of rousting neighbors in the wee smalls? And of course the operative word in the title is “strange”. And surreal in the unnerving lack of logic.
Now the young husband, Dan (Klaus Tange), continues the next day to rile the neighbors until they all want him evicted, and a police inspector (Jean-Michel Vovk) shows up without being called (except maybe by the neighbors). As Dan canvasses the other people who live in his apartment house for any hint of what might have happened to his wife, Edwige (played by, I believe, Ursula Bedena, but it could be Brigit Yew), he finds a man who hates him and a woman who wants to torture him – she does (or does she?).
Increasingly the intent of the creators (the writer-directors are Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani) seems to be to connect with the audience’s unconscious, rather than conscious. At one point Dan is both inside and outside his apartment, with Inside Dan afraid to open the door and Outside Dan saying he must let him in because somebody is trying t kill him, and this at least seems to be true because Inside Dan keeps getting slashed by a knife in a series of horrific shots. Fade to Dan with L’Inspecteur who has found evidence of Edwige’s murder. Then Dan plays the tape made by the man who hates him, and as he speeds up the tape the voice becomes that of Edwige.
Heavily deceptive, the film  twists reality into a knot and defies the viewer to unravel it. Whether you find it worthwhile to take the time is entirely up to you. I found it a very interesting contest between the filmmakers and the viewer, even though I’m pretty sure I lost.

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