Bruno Forzani & Hélène Cattet  



A married French couple that have removed the border between exploitation and art-house by embracing the over-the-top tropes of the former and turning them into colorful stylish visual imagery of the latter. The sensorial impressions of various exploitation genres play a principal role in their films, often discarding a cohesive plot and presenting a stylish sequence of tactile experiences that convey the feeling, images and plot devices of the genre rather than the narrative. They deconstruct, abstract and freely-associate the sensorial impressions from many movies in genres such as giallo, Euro-crime, Spaghetti Westerns and thrillers. This results in surreal experiences and fetishized imagery that can really get under your skin with carefully choreographed images and sound. They also create many short films which often work better when dealing with such subject matter.

Recommended

Amer  
Don't be fooled by the reviews claiming this is an artsy giallo. This is a surreal and extremely tactile movie about female sexuality and senses, with no exploitation, by way of an homage to classic Italian horror. The movie is a sequence of dialogue-free shorts that bring a woman's various experiences to life through meticulous audio-visual craftsmanship, taking Italian horror cinematography techniques from Bava and Argento to delirious and surreal heights. The first part is the most surreal and features a young girl's confusing and frightening first glimpses into the world of adults, full of strange behaviour, death and sex. A veiled hand haunts her, she steals an old pocket-watch from a long dead grandfather which threatens with incoherent nightmarish scares every time it is opened, letting in unavoidable puberty. She also witnesses her parents having sex, a mind-shattering mix of sensuality and violence. Then there is her walk with her mother to town as she is freshly aware of her teenage new body and sensuality and men's stares, with close-up scenes that create sensual tension so thick, you could drown in it. And she does drown in it later in a bath full of sensual pleasures and scary hovering men, she also finds herself extremely vulnerable in a simple taxi drive full of scorching heat, which leads to the final dream-logic giallo chase and bloody murder scenes which seem out of place at first, but can also be read as a way of depicting the scary, erotic and violent presence of men. Watch this one with your skin, not your eyes. Just keep in mind it may be an unpleasant experience for some.

Of Some Interest

Let the Corpses Tan  
Forzani-Cattet's third outing. The first was a collection of shorts strung together on the theme of female sexuality and the predatory male, the last segment containing a surreal-fetish tribute to the violent giallo genre. The second was a sensuous tribute to thrillers, fetishizing and abstracting violence to even more tactile extremes. This one does the same for the exploitation-crime genre, converting it into a surreal-abstraction of violence firmly intertwined with lust, by now strongly typecasting these directors in their own genre of exploitation-deconstruction and fetishization. A gang of various criminals hide out in a long-abandoned, dilapidated, collection of old structures near the sea along with a pile of stolen gold and some crazy writer-artists. Surprise guests and some leather-clad law-enforcement officers with a soldier's attitude cause an explosion of violence. An hour-length shoot-out quickly turns into a nonsensically surreal series of double-crosses, makeshift alliances, ultra-violence and an orgy of blood-lust that purposely embraces over-the-top gratuitous exploitation of the women caught in the cross-fire. There is also a strong feeling of spaghetti western in the shootouts, and a constant dance of location and time as various points of view in the gun-battle are constantly spliced together in choreographed sequences. The endless gun-battle turns into a phantasmagorical dance of violence and violence-inspired lust, with girls literally stripped naked with bullets, and fantasy-forays of a naked female figure turned into both an object of violence and lust. Fetish S&M imagery turns women into objects of lust, a girl's urine transforms into gold, and bloody killings transform into sensual orgies of colorful violence. This is exploitation turned into a fetish art-form, nothing more.

Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears, The  
By the same team behind Amer comes another tactile, experimental movie, this time mostly on the theme of murder and secrets. It's a thriller, but only in the Robbe-Grillet sense. Whereas Robbe-Grillet took apart thrillers and explored their mechanisms, cogs and wheels, deconstructing them and presenting them with several variations, Forzani/Cattet here focus primarily on the sense-impressions of a thriller, but otherwise present a similar palette of variations. In other words, you can forget about the actual mystery and its solution, this movie is only interested in exploring the colors, taste, feel, visual and tactile impressions of a conglomeration of thrillers and their common elements. A man is trying to track down his wife who disappeared. His strange neighbours whisper to him about strange secrets and stories, and he finds more and more puzzling clues, leading to much paranoia and fears. Secrets, murders and stalkers literally come out of the ceilings and walls. In one scene his fears turn inwards and he finds himself stalking or even murdering himself in a loop, and in a gruesome and very striking surreal sequence, his alternate stabbing persona takes over himself from the inside. Even his wife blurs into multiple women, and people encounter many deaths within the walls of the building. The cinematography, sound, editing and colors are constantly shifting in experimental ways to evoke different senses and to create connections and striking patterns, making each scene interesting in different ways. It's a surreal nightmarish thriller that you experience rather than analyze. Unfortunately, it wears out its welcome halfway through, with repetitive themes, often feeling like a few shorts were spliced together, and it constantly sensualizes and sexualizes repetitive stabbings, turning them into a fetish.




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