Combustible Celluloid
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With: Elina Löwensohn, Stéphane Ferrara, Bernie Bonvoisin, Michelangelo Marchese, Marc Barbé, Marine Sainsily, Hervé Sogne, Pierre Nisse, Aline Stevens, Dorylia Calmel, Marilyn Jess, Bamba Forzani Ndiaye
Written by: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani, based on a novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette, Jean-Pierre Bastid
Directed by: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: French, with English subtitles
Running Time: 92
Date: 09/07/2018

Let the Corpses Tan (2018)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Dead Heat

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A little bit Ruggero Deodato, a little bit Alejandro Jodorowsky, and a little bit Radley Metzger, Let the Corpses Tan seems obsessed with capturing the weirdness of the European cinema of the past, but without much of an idea where it stands in the present. In it, several criminals are hiding out in a crumbling ruin occupied by artist Luce (Elina Löwensohn), who still exudes sexiness in her cowboy boots and the way she issues commands. The thieves steal a cache of gold bars and are preparing to lay low, but they run into a woman, the woman's son, and their maid, who are looking for Luce's place. Then, two cops stumble upon the hideout, and this leads to a shootout that lasts the rest of the film.

Darkness falls and there are several betrayals. (Not all the characters have names, but one of them is called "Rhino.") The film provides a clock when it jumps back and forth in time, sometimes just a few seconds, and there are many shots of shadowy figures framed by burning sunlight and a few artsy flashbacks or asides (such as the characters represented by scurrying ants). However, I fear I lost track and was merely waiting for it all to end. It does have a heck of a poster, though. It was co-directed and co-written by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani (Amer, The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears), based on a 1970s pulp novel. The music includes a few cues by Ennio Morricone.

Kino Lorber released the Blu-ray in early 2019. The film's giallo-like color scheme is beautifully preserved, and the sound is strong. The main extra is a lively commentary track by film critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Queensland Film Festival Director John Edmond. Other audio tracks are offered in 5.1 DTS-HD and 2.0 DTS-HD. There's also a trailer and optional English subtitles.

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