Color, 2017, 92 mins. 14 secs..
Directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani
Starring Elina Löwensohn, Stéphane Ferrara, Bernie Bonvoisin, Michelangelo Marchese, Marc Barbé
Kino Lorber (Blu-ray & DVD) (US RA/R1 HD/NTSC), Le Chat Qui Fume (Blu-ray & DVD) (France RB/R2 HD/PAL) / WS (2.35:1) (16:9)

After Let the Corpses Tanplaying around with the images and music of Let the Corpses TanItalian horror and gialli with Amer and The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears, the duo of Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani return with their third visually intoxicating mosaic -- but this time indebted to European crime thrillers and westerns. Whether their films are really snappy screen savers or incisive works of deconstruction still seems up for debate, but they're certainly unique and qualify as an event each time one opens. There's also a bit more narrative than usual since this one's based on a novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette and Jean-Pierre Bastid, though it's still more focused on style than exploitation value.

On "Friday, July 16," a villa in the rocky outskirts of Corsica starts off with a sunny afternoon of gunshot painting for Luce (Löwensohn) and Bernier (Barbé) gets complicated when a carload of robbers comes barreling into the vicinity with a cache of stolen gold. A hapless family and dogged cops become entangled as well in what amounts to a trippy string of shootouts, betrayals, and bloody efforts to grab the gold, interspersed with dreamy interludes involving a dream woman played in increasingly kinky scenarios by Strange Color's Aline Steves. That includes a brazen visual gag on the concept of golden showers and a forced Let the Corpses Tanchampagne lactation sequence not easily forgotten. Let the Corpses Tan

With its zooms, whip pans, and aggressively exaggerated sound effects, Cattet and Forazani seem to be taking strong aesthetic inspiration from spaghetti westerns even if the actual, slender plot is more in line with something like The Night of the Following Day or Rabid Dogs. Anything resembling a traditional narrative is purely incidental as the film flows from one impeccably edited set piece to another. A familiar face since her discovery in a string of Hal Hartley projects, Löwensohn (who also appeared in the fascinating and now mostly forgotten vampire film Nadja) is still a magnetic presence and seems perfectly cast here among a sea of effective performers, none of them given more than a couple of minutes of minimal dialogue. The filmmakers' tics are in abundance here including continued use of that red Impact font (amped up here with frequent timestamps on the screen in addition to the credits) and a collage soundtrack of Euro-cult hits from the likes of Ennio Morricone and Nico Fidenco, with a key Let the Corpses Tantrack from The Road to Salina (heard earlier to more spare and powerful effect in Kill Bill Vol. 2) getting driven into the ground here over and over.

A film guaranteed to be a Let the Corpses Tanravishing home theater experience, Let the Corpses Tan (a flat translation of the more lyrical French title, Laissez bronzer les cadavres) first came to Blu-ray and DVD in France as a three-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo featuring English subtitles for the main feature and bonus features including interviews with Löwensohn, Dominique Troyes, Bernie Bonvoisin, Stéphane Ferrara, Jean-Pierre Bastid and Doug Headline, as well as the short films “O Is For Orgasm” and “Santos Palace” and a teaser and trailer. The American release from Kino Lorber offers the French track in DTS-HD MA 5.1 or 2.0 options (the 5.1 is really punchy and fun) with English subtitles. As you'd expect it looks absolutely gorgeous with a riot of blazing colors in almost every scene (the robbery title sequence could burn your screen up) and numerous striking, highly detailed landscape shots. The U.S. trailer is included along with an audio commentary with Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and John Edmond, who mostly talk about how they love everything in the film and every shot is gorgeous. There's also a quick, vicious dis at Quentin Tarantino that feels particularly odd in the context of this film. They're certainly enthusiastic though and have some good material about meeting the filmmakers who answered some questions about the origins of some of the more outré visual ideas.

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Reviewed on December 27, 2018