Let the Corpses Tan
Armed robbers with 250 kg of gold hide in a remote spot by the Mediterranean. Laying low before they split the spoils, they encounter a visit from unexpected guests. More arrive, and the situation turns into a psychedelic sun-drenched bloodbath.
Opting to trade razor blades and lush interiors for guns, denim and leather; Italian genre cinema revisionists Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani use their wildly imaginative style to deliver a take on the euro crime / western genre in Let the Corpses Tan. Fans of their work will discover that their third feature follows a more strict “narrative” than their previous work, which is noted for being in the more freeform/experimental style.
A popular criticism, this change may be attributed to Corpses being based off a 1971 pulp novel of the same name. The bare amount of narrative setup in the first half hour of the film allows Cattet and Forzani to unleash the flood gates in a sensory barrage. Whatever the underlying reason, less confusion among the audience, however small the amount, means more time can be spent appreciating what a cinematic delight this film is in terms of pure sight and sound.
Those who are back and/or are looking for a sumptuous feast for the senses will not be disappointed. Much like the apartment and building complex in The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, the film’s location of a village by the Mediterranean sea is utilized to its fullest extent. Rich ocean blues and bright daylight contrast bullet ridden chaos. Cliffs, rocks and bones mirror feelings of barren alienation caused by greed and madness.
Cattet and Forzani’s distinctive technique of revitalizing genre tropes with both masculine and feminine imagery are at their best. Heightened to fetishistic levels, an endless parade of cars, guns, and violence depict the catastrophic blow out. Cerebral flashbacks filled with figures of feminine form, manipulation, and even worship at some point provide counterpoints that feel jarring at first but ease into its own wonderful stream of bliss.
Of course this film is so well crafted that one could very well tune out any detail and enjoy another successful smorgasbord of elements put to screen. Paired with equally arresting sound editing and elevated to Italian genre ascendance by way of its use of older soundtrack cuts, Let the Corpses Tan is poliziottesco via Jodoworsky.