Dan (Klaus Tange) returns home to his apartment one afternoon after having been away for a few days on a business trip. The door is locked from the inside - Dan calls out for his wife, Edwige, but there is no answer.

Upon forcing his way in, Dan realises his wife is missing. He then sets about buzzing the intercoms of his neighbours in the building, asking them if they've seen her. One beckons him up to her apartment.

This old lady (Ursula Bedena) proceeds to tell Dan a tale of how her own husband also went missing in the building, claiming that he pursued noises coming from behind the illustrated walls until ultimately whatever lived in there killed him. Dan, too, has heard the mournful wails that seem to come from within the walls.

Still unable to locate Edwige, he then contacts a detective who has his own yarn to spin: about a case where a bearded photographer was driven insane and attempted to murder his wife. Other than that, the detective offers little help - he agrees to take on the investigation, but is more concerned with accusing Dan of being a heavy drinker and suggesting Edwige may have left him for another lover.

All of which leaves Dan alone a lot of the time to investigate matters himself. Upon rifling through boxes in Edwige's wardrobe he finds clues that lead him to the door of a fellow neighbour, a mysterious brunette who has designs on doing violent things to Dan during sex.

Back in his apartment, Dan gets further absorbed in solving the mystery of his wife's disappearance. As he does, and as he gets subjected to more of his odd neighbours as part of his investigations, his distinction between reality and dark fantasy becomes increasingly blurred.

Has Edwige been murdered? If so, who is the culprit? What is the strange secret hidden with the building's walls? Who is Laura, a name that comes to Dan while searching for clues?

The writers and directors of THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY'S TEARS, Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani, last gave us AMER. So if this film's portentous title isn't warning enough, let that be your caution.

Here, we get much of the same. Beautiful visuals that have been painstakingly realised, recalling the heyday of the giallo (as well as, on this occasion, the likes of David Lynch, Brian De Palma and contemporary Japanese cinema); a complex non-linear structure; arresting sound design which incorporates direct lifts of iconic scores (including TORSO and KILLER NUN in this instance); stylised violence shot through filtered lenses and edited jaggedly, while fixating on the objectification and mutilation of the female form.

On the one hand, TEARS deserves commendation for its stunning visuals. The intricacy with which it's been pieced together is something to marvel at, and in appearance at least the film is second to none.

But this tendency by the co-directors to agonise over the presentation of even the most mundane, inconsequential scenes soon becomes exhausting. There's a lack of emotional resonance at play: the film, while technically dazzling, has little of dramatic engagement. The filmmakers don't care about script or characters, so why should we?

Resultantly, I was impressed by TEARS' aesthetics but found it a chore to sit through as a piece of entertainment. As talented as they undoubtedly are, Cattet and Forzani remain better suited to making short films.

THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY'S TEARS comes to UK DVD courtesy of Metrodome, fully uncut an in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is 16x9 enhanced and, as you can probably guess, looks pretty stunning. I'd go so far as to say I can't pick any reasonable fault with the film's presentation: colours are deep and warm, flesh-tones are natural, blacks are impressively solid, detail is sharp and intricate...

Likewise, the French soundtrack audio options - 2.0 and 5.1 mixes are both extremely impressive, clean and evenly balanced affairs. Small English subtitles are burned into the transfer.

An animated main menu page opens the DVD. From there, a static scene selection menu allows access to the film by way of 12 chapters.

Metrodome's disc is disappointingly barren in terms of bonus features. We get the film's original trailer - all 79 seconds of it - and a short stills gallery, but that's it.

Actually, the disc is defaulted to open with trailers for PASSION, UPSTREAM COLOUR and the MANIAC remake. But that's it.

Despite what I may think of TEARS I'm flabbergasted, quite frankly, that Metrodome haven't acknowledged the anticipation felt in some quarters ahead of its release and given UK fans something more in the way of extras. I'm equally baffled as to why they haven't released the film onto blu-ray, given that its visuals are perfectly suited to the delights of high definition.

But no, Metrodome have put in minimal effort here for a film that not only comes on the heels of months of build-up from fans online but has 'cult status' written all over it. Shame.

THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY'S TEARS is very clearly, very definitely the work of the people who brought you AMER. Whether or not that's to be taken as a recommendation is down to personal taste. It's clever, it's stylish, it's ultimately a little boring too - and Metrodome's disc is bereft of any special effort.

By Stuart Willis

Released by Metrodome
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review