Written and directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, Let the Corpses Tan depicts the story of a gang and its leader, who think they have found the perfect hideout for their stolen gold in the middle of the Mediterranean Italian mountains. Their plan is then foiled by the arrival of two cops, turning the beautiful coastal getaway into a battlefield. (FEA: 4/5)
The film follows the story of “Rhino” (Stephane Ferrara), a gang leader who believes he has found the perfect hideout for 250kg of stolen gold: an abandoned house on the Italian coast. The abandoned building is located at the top of a hill, and occupied by “Luce” (Elina Löwensohn) — an eccentric artist in search of inspiration. It is important to note that the house is only accessible through one route. Their getaway, filled with lustful interactions, is interrupted when two cops stumble upon the hideout. From then on, a literal game of “cops and robbers” takes place, as both sides engage in a 24 hour-long shootout, with each side hoping to get out alive.
Even though I have just described the story line, it is important to note that Let the Corpses Tan places very little emphasis on plot per se. The plot simply serves to set the scene for a beautiful film, filled with beauty, ugliness, violence, divinity, love, and gore. The imagery is truly what sets the film apart from its traditional Western plot. Indeed, the film does feature gore. However, it is often presented in a novel way. Moments that should feature carnage and violence are often represented artistically — hinting at ideas of death and violence, without being too on-the-nose.The film is also regularly interrupted by “dream sequences,” which feature the silhouette of a woman, who seems to be some sort of divinity within the film’s world. She appears, often out of nowhere, surrounded by four men, with whom she interacts with in different ways. I agree with other online accounts of this woman, which state that she is used by Cattet and Forzani to poke fun at the traditional relationship between sex and violence in Westerns, between the objectification of women and the use of guns and weapons in a battlefield.
If you do choose to see Let the Corpses Tan, be aware that oftentimes you may not know what exactly is going on. In fact, while the film takes place during a 24 hour window, the directors often make the choice of going back and forth in time, in order to show the same events from different points of view. Nevertheless, I can guarantee that you will be sucked into the film’s universe, which somehow makes sense without making logical sense, and is able to immerse you in the dark, twisted, maze-like world it sets up.
If you are ready to give up the human tendency to make logical sense of what goes on around you, and to simply enjoy beauty and art and symbolism, Let the Corpses Tan is a great place to start.
© Farah Elattar (2/09/2019) FF2 Media
Top Photo: Elina Löwensohn in Let the Corpses Tan.
Middle Photo: Poster of Let the Corpses Tan, featuring the female goddess figure.
Bottom Photo: a graveyard at the top of the mountain where the house is located.
Photo Credits: Kino Lorber (2018) (USA) (theatrical) (subtitled)
Q: Does Let the Corpses Tan pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?
There are no scenes that feature interactions solely between women.