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[TIFF ’13] Q&A: Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani Preview Giallo, “THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS”

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Crafting a form of experimental neo-gialli that seems even less interested in narrative logic than the 70s style it’s recalling, filmmakers Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani have been long overdue for a new work in their brand of stirring, sensual, psychedelic cinema. Following the lasting impression of 2009’s AMER, and sheer teasing of THE ABCs OF DEATH entry, “O for Orgasm,” they’ve set upon the Toronto International Film Festival this year with an all-time giallo title and a film—as the teaser so visualizes—sure to blow minds. FANGORIA spoke with the pair for a preview of what to expect from THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS.

FANGORIA: While the film comes with a bit more of a narrative tissue, it seems to be just as much a surreal experience as AMER. What started you two on a road of exploring largely sensual, almost experimental cinema?

HÉLÈNE CATTET & BRUNO FORZANI: Maybe we started on the road of exploring sensual cinema because, although we had different cinematic tastes, one common taste as viewers were the silent moments in films—the house’s exploration in Dario Argento’s DEEP RED, the museum sequence in Brian De Palma’s DRESSED TO KILL, the beginning of Sergio Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, the following sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s VERTIGO, etc. These silent moments were very sensual and the cinematographic tools were used at 100%! They were sometimes stronger than the dramatic plot points of the script. So, when we started making films together we wanted to tell our stories through these kinds of sequences. We enjoy cinema as an experience and we try to make a sensual roller coaster, a cinematic experience, an assault on the audience’s senses with all the cinematographic tools we have as directors. And Horror could be very effective in a sensual way, because you can approach violence, eroticism and fear as what they are: physical!

FANG: Part of STRANGE COLOUR’s distinction sounds to be its location of Brussels and the art and architecture it holds? Can you expand a bit on being inspired by Art Nouveau and how that design can externalize the character’s journey?

CATTET & FORZANI: First of all Art Nouveau, with its crazy architecture from the end of the 19th century, was a way to create a fantastic and Oniric universe in Brussels, the city we live in. As we have tried to build the film as a labyrinth, it was the perfect architecture because during this period, some architects broke the rules of classical Brussels’ houses’ spaces. The main set of the film is a house designed by Victor Horta, the most famous Belgian Art Nouveau architect. It’s the first time it has been shot for cinema! When we entered this house, it was very destabilizing; the stairs were going in so many directions… We thought we were in a Escher picture! We had to visit it three times to understand how to film it and use it for the film space.

Then, the way women are represented in Art Nouveau period, like divinities, fits perfectly with the subject of the film, with those men lost in their fantasies.

FANG: This is surely is one of the great titles of giallo cinema, new or old. Where did it come from?

CATTET & FORZANI: It comes from our love for those crazy giallo titles such as THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH or Perché quelle strane gocce di sangue sul corpo di Jennifer (AKA WHAT ARE THOSE STRANGE DROPS OF BLOOD DOING ON JENNIFER’S BODY) or ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK.

Then, it comes from the thematic of the film, it was a “giallic” and surreal way to resume it!

THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS makes its North American Premiere next Wednesday, September 11 at the Toronto International Film Festival. It then hits Austin, Texas for its U.S. Premiere at Fantastic Fest. Find the full TIFF schedule below, and head to its official Facebook for more info.

• Wednesday September 11 The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 6:00 PM
• Thursday September 12 Scotiabank 3 9:30 PM
• Saturday September 14 Scotiabank 8 12:30 PM

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Samuel Zimmerman
Fangoria.com Managing Editor Samuel Zimmerman has been at FANGORIA since 2009, where fresh out of the Purchase College Cinema Studies program, he began as an editorial assistant. Since, he’s honed both his writing and karaoke skills and been trusted with the responsibility of jury duty at Austin’s incredible Fantastic Fest. Zimmerman lives in and hails from The Bronx, New York where his pants are too tight and he’ll watch anything with witches.
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