Toronto Film Review: ‘Let the Corpses Tan’

Variety | 9/13/2017 | Dennis Harvey
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The latest slavish homage to vintage exploitation genre tropes by Belgian duo Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani, “Let the Corpses Tan” slightly expands one of the most rarefied bodies of work in recent cinema. This time the object of homage is (primarily) violent European crime thrillers of the 1970s, as opposed to the same era’s giallos, to which the co-directors’ “Amer” and “The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears” paid tribute. The shift in genre creates a comparatively more coherent narrative, with fidelity to the near-senseless horror plots no longer a requirement.

Otherwise this is a fetishistically precise recreation of a dead retro style, with no substance on the menu beyond the second-hand or accidental. Like a house made entirely of popsicle sticks, Cattet and Forzani’s movies are remarkable feats of dedication and detail, yet the nagging questions “What’s the function? What’s the point?” will continue to divide viewers. Commercial prospects remain marginal, but a particular echelon of cinephiles will again be highly enthused.

Complex - Structures - Southland - Spain - Houses

A near-ruined complex of hilltop structures in some dusty southland (presumably Spain) houses various self-professed exiles from society, including the imperious Luce (Elina Lowensohn), a middle-aged woman inclined toward provocatively scanty dress; alcoholic writer Bernier (Marc Barbe); Luce’s younger lawyer-lover (Michelangelo Marchese); and grizzled crime boss Rhino (Stephane Ferrara). Rhino and Luce are the apparent ringleaders in an armored truck’s deadly ambush that snipers and masked motorcyclists pull off not far away.

A haul of gold bricks swiftly lands at the complex, but even before its arrival, the master plan has drifted off course due to the unscheduled arrival of Bernier’s wife (Sorylia Calmel), son (Bamba) and maid (Marine Sainsily). Their appearances further complicate a domino effect of double- and triple-crossings that explode into a full-on shootout once two police officers (Herve Sogne, Dominique Troyes) trace the stolen loot...
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