MOVIE: LET THE CORPSES TAN
STARRING: ELINA LOWENSOHN; STEPHANE FERRARA; MARC BARBE; PIERRE NISSE
DIRECTED BY: HELENE CATTET; BRUNO FORZANI
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
Let the Corpses Tan is the full French cinema experience. It's involves the heist of an armored truck, which immediately goes wrong, leading to a standoff between three sides, the robbers, a group of people held up in the nearby town, and a few police officers. That description, however, is not really what is at hand. This is an arthouse film full stop, written & directed by the team of Helene Catte and Bruno Forzani, who have a history of colorful, free spirited films that will challenge anyone who hasn’t ventured outside of the blockbuster film. Let the Corpses Tan is a sun kissed pot boiler, filled with sex, violence, and artistic expression. It's worth checking out if you're up for the challenge.
It all takes place on a Mediterranean island, where a gang, led by the steely Rhino (Stephane Ferrara), successfully escapes with a car full of gold bricks. The chase forces the group into a clay colored mountainside home, with the constantly smoking madame Luce (Elina Lowenshohn) there to poke fun at their situation. Along with the robbers is Bernier (Marc Barbe), his wife, son, and the nanny, caught in the middle of a pair of motorcycle cops doing whatever it takes to catch the thieves.
Describing the plot is simple enough, but the cinema influences are burned into the spirit of Let the Corpses Tan. Similar to Coralie Fargeat's blood soaked film Revenge, Let the Corpses Tan is rooted in the spaghetti western style. The cinematography is often focused on the eyes of our characters, similar to Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. There is an action tone similar to Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. It is also matched with a montage style of editing, which moves so fast, it's almost subliminal. Intertwined between the shootout scenes are flashbacks to a woman caked in gold paint, a representation of being alive in the sun, often bouncing back and fourth between reality and a dream.
Similar to a great poem or a beautiful song, repetition can be what makes art beautiful. That is what makes Let the Corpses Tan great for some and miserable to others. If you get bored fast and dislike a repetitive narrative, then you will hate it. I found the style to be fascinating. A quick paced expression of passionate cinema. This was also my first venture into the work of Catte & Forzani, which I am told has more of a script than what their previous work has had. Every frame of cinematographer Manuel Dacosse has an image worth a thousand words, yet the tense standoff to be the last one standing with the gold becomes just as entertaining.
Let the Corpses Tan is a whole lot of things. It's a western, a heist film, a fever-dream, a walk into the desert, and an expression of human desires. I appreciate a movie of this nature because it continues to challenge me as an audience member. I hadn't seen a movie like Let the Corpses Tan in some time, which involves gorgeous desert settings, a Morricone-style score, and a pace so fast you'll miss something when you blink. Let the Corpses Tan is a challenge to walk into the sun, free your mind, and experience the work of Catte & Forzani. A movie this good makes it a certainty that I will watch their past films and can't wait to see what they do next.
Written by: Leo Brady