Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Strange Colour of your Body's Tears


  To tell you the basic premise of this movie would be like promising you a story, and all you get is the fringe oddities of a drug induced fever dream. Surreal in every regard, one's basic grasp on the story is frequently lost in spectacular fashion as we're assaulted with wild visuals saturated in vibrant colors that toy with your head. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is up to you. I pride myself on being able to recommend really strange and trippy movies to friends of mine who aren't as cinema-savvy as myself, but this movie threw me for a loop. I don't know if I can recommend this, because honestly I can't say I actually enjoyed it.

  I'm sure there's a whole genre of movies just like this out there, but it's really saying something when I can divine a more straightforward plot from Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain than I can from this movie. I'm sure that this is a movie that you can only classify as art, because I'm not sure it's anything else. It's a story told through a dream-like mode of storytelling. It's told through disjointed images, sounds, and pure expression. Everything is strategically placed and shown to evoke specific emotions in the viewer. After an hour and a half (almost) I can't say I was made to experience emotions that I'd want to experience again.

  Not to say it was an experience I regret having, but about halfway through, it had become a chore. Far be it from me to say there are limits to what you can get away with in a movie like this, because a movie like this is art, and you can't put limits on artistic expression, but... there are limits to what you can get away with in a movie like this. In one scene that's too surreal for me to even describe, certain events keep repeating themselves. The first few times, you get it, but it doesn't stop at a few times. I'm almost certain the scene is meant to unsettle and exhaust the viewer. Then the question becomes, what am I subjecting myself to?

  Sometimes a more coherent plot can save a sequence like that because there's context and within that context you, me, the audience, can understand what the hell is going on. At the same time, the movie makes no effort to be grounded at all. Context? Coherence? Pft. Those things have no place in this movie. You'd need a tour guide and a GPS unit just to navigate this maze of a movie and find the exit. If it wasn't for the impressively crafted and stunningly realized visual language, this movie would've have been more of a mess than a maze. As it is, you can somewhat divine a loose narrative because there are certain scenes that seem to take place entirely in a normal reality.

  Unfortunately those scenes are little more than guideposts, or rest stops. A break from the delirium. Funny enough, you get the sense that everything that's happening is happening in reality. Even the insane and off the wall stuff. The movie is shot as if the camera is in another dimension, peaking in on ours. Things are distorted, seen close up. The picture is often split several different ways, and then mirrored. A simple conversation between two men become a dizzying, intense, up-close tour of subtle facial expressions, body language, and the movement of their eyes. So, in a movie that can lend such craziness to such a mundane thing, how can any other thing be taken for granted? You can't tell the drug trip, so to speak, from the regular stuff.

  Not unlike a dream. Or a nightmare in this case. Dreams, captured in their raw form, and put up on a screen would probably play a lot like this. Dreams make sense when you're in them, but as you try to recall them after you wake... you remember how odd some of it was, and in the worst cases (or best) you find yourself simply unable to explain it. The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears is for all intents and purposes a murder mystery and a horror movie. I can only recall a handful of names and a smattering of significant looking scenes. The rest is a blur of colors and motion. Visuals stand out as important, faces we should recognize, things we should understand, but by the time the credits roll... all you can do is remind yourself that you're awake now.

  I can imagine this is what a normal movie would look like to a cro-magnon man. Someone so profoundly illiterate that a regular movie would be a mind blowing hallucinatory experience. Perhaps some artists aren't seeking to tell a story so much as they are looking to share a sight, a sound, a feeling. Ultimately, they are sharing an experience. It's not for us to comprehend or understand. It is at best, a concept. An emotion. Did I like this movie? No. I'm not looking for an experience like that. I can say I safely draw the line at Lynch and/or Jodorowsky. I tend to want a little logic in my movies. My dreams are already crazy. But for those of you looking to see someone else's dream, I wholeheartedly recommend this one. It's horror in it's purest form. It shows us what unsettles us and frets not the details of things like context, dialog, setting, plot, or story. It's a slew of fever dream imagery strung together on a most basic premise.

  Is that a bad thing? Or is it genius? That's up to you. But either way, if you're interested, odds are it's at least worth it. It's balls deep in symbolism and savagely psychedelic imagery. It's begging to be analyzed, psychoanalyzed and then probed in all it's naughty areas. Only then will you have experienced this movie to it's fullest. Have a conversation or two about what such and such part really meant, or try to understand what such and such image was really about. I won't indulge though, because this isn't my kind of art. It's interpretive fodder for intellectuals who aren't satisfied unless they can Sigmund Freud the hell out of a movie. My semi-repeated involvement with movies like this are interesting experiences, always, but invariably end when I'm done writing my review. It won't get any amateur psychoanalysis out of me.

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