Category Archives: Western

Locarno Film Festival

LFF: Let the Corpses Tan

FILMSNAP: A film review that is 300 words or less.

Screeching to focus with a smattering of gunshots (the first of many), Let The Corpses Tan makes clear early on that this isn’t your typical French-Belgian psychedelic western. A midnight movie that plays out like an unrestrained Free Fire that’s careless with its pacing and thankfully even more careless with everything else too, directors/madcap cinematic scientists Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani throw everything and the bullet-strewn kitchen sink stylistically to create an exploitation extravaganza that takes advantage of its audience as much as its cast.

Set in the sunscorched Mediterranean (cinematographer Dacosse making full use of that sun with an overload of heavenly silhouettes to frame in front of it), three gang members stash stolen gold in a recluse owned by an unhinged artist and poet. A pair of cops arrive, and what follows is a hyper-stylised shoot-em-up, interpreted in the vein of Tarantino but pushed to breaking point and then some. The editing is simply gorgeous – a kinetic display of whip-pans, zooms, time distillation and everything else,  that playfully pokes fun at its genre like the grinning pastiche it is.

Our senses implode – we hear the squeak of creased leather, we feel the characters roast and their backs sweat, and we see men guzzling champagne that’s being secreted by a woman on a cross. If the film finally succumbs to enervation with twenty or so minutes to spare, it’s only due to the restive cinematic brilliance of what came before.  

Scattered images leave us to pick up and pick apart strands of reason and infer the point of the film. Is the point that we’re all primal, beastly animals at heart? Is there even a point? Is the fact that there may not be a point, the whole point? Who cares – it’s great fun.

-Gus Edgar