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The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears

In the 1970s, the only thing happening in the horror genre was giallo, gruesome Italian murder mysteries that anticipated the slasher genre while graverobbing the remains of pop art. Like spaghetti westerns, they took traditional elements to a sometimes ludicrous extreme, with hypnotic music, luridly oversaturated colors, extreme close-ups, and camera work that emulated the killer’s point of view. The masters of the genre were Dario Argento and Mario Bava, but it’s a genre without many masterpieces. Also like spaghetti westerns, there are many instances of unforgettable scenes set in otherwise second-rate movies: fans got used to sitting through dull exposition to get to what they came for.

There’s no dull exposition in The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, from Belgian filmmakers Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani. In fact, there’s barely any exposition at all. A man returns from a business trip to the apartment where he lives to find that his wife has disappeared, but their door is chained from the inside. As he searches the building for her, it becomes an externalized nightmare of inexplicable terrors, some of which spin off into bizarre tangents.

Nearly 100 minutes of this may sound like too much to sit through without such minimal narrative involvement, and I won’t guarantee that some of you won’t find it too much to sit through. But the bare elements of this baroque style are surprisingly engrossing. It doesn’t hurt that the music is all taken from original giallos, which means lots of Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai. And if you’re already a fan of the genre you’ll have fun playing spot-the-reference: the wife’s name, for instance, is Edwige, which will of course remind you of Edwige Fenech, the sexpot star of such irresistibly titled gialli as 5 Dolls for an August Moon, Strip Nude for Your Killer, and Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key.

A presentation, of course, of the Little Red Booking film series, The Strange Color Of Your Body’s Tears will be presented at Squeaky Wheel, 712 Main St, at 7 pm on Thursday Oct. 9.

Watch the trailer for The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears

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