Thursday, December 20, 2018

LET THE CORPSES TAN reviewed


Based on a French crime novel published in 1971, Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani's LET THE CORPSES TAN is their strongest narrative endeavor to date, while yet another dazzling display of tightly-wound technique and energetic experimentation. While the imagery free-associates elements from Leone, Anger, Jodorowsky and other icons, in terms of sheer kaleidoscopic technique, it calls to mind nothing less than Orson Welles' only recently completed THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND - and it’s remarkable to me that these two young people, with only three features behind them, are already making films comparable to what Welles could create at the end of his journey.

Though this film might be described as a hallucinatory crime thriller, Cattet-Forzani draw on a wealth of Italian Western imagery while complementing it with tracks from various giallo thrillers, horror films, and dramas - THE ROAD TO SALINA, ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST, WHO SAW HER DIE?, etc. Here is a link to a very interesting and useful interview with the two directors about the film.


The audio commentary on Kino Lorber’s imminent Blu-ray (streeting January 8, 2019) is by author/critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (among other things, the editor of a forthcoming Australian book of essays on Cattet-Forzani) and Queensland Film Festival director John Edmond. It’s a lively, chatty track with lots of laughter, but these two are scholars and they pack a wealth of information and personal insights about the directors into their track. I have to agree with the commentators that the better English title would have been LET THE CORPSES BRONZE, which would be truer to the French title (Laissez bronzer les cadavres) - but I will further suggest that LET THE CORPSES TURN TO GOLD might have been even more to the point.

Whatever you call it, this is a very tight film and Elina Löwensohn is incredible. Time well spent.

(c) 2018 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.

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