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almodóvar, banderas, la piel que habito, the skin i live in

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Old 7th Sep 2011, 11:19   #1
ono no komachi
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Default The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito)

What a strange film I found this to be. Antonio Banderas plays a plastic surgeon who has been dogged by tragedy, his wife having suffered fatal burns in a car crash, who makes it his mission to create a kind of super-skin via the forbidden means of transgenesis. Central to his experiment is Vera, a beautiful young woman closeted within his enormous and luxurious villa.

Previous events are revealed to us as we discover gradually more about Banderas' character's motivations, not all of which are driven by grief and compassion - there is an unhealthy dose of twisted logic and desire for revenge involved in his actions. Relationships are mysteriously opaque, and the audience is left very free to decide where to bestow their sympathies - or even if there is anywhere worth bestowing them.

The problem that I had, was that if you decide you really don't feel all that sympathetic to any of the protagonists, what you are left with is the story, which is tragi-comically bonkers, and the cinematography, which is stunning. In the words of the song, two out of three ain't bad, but I thought it a pity that the film, for me, carried little emotional heft, despite the traumas suffered by the characters. Also, I hadn't been expecting that sexual violence would be such a central feature of the film and was a bit disturbed by the way this was portrayed.

It's certainly worth seeing - the performances are impressive and it is visually very beautiful and memorable. But I didn't really come away with an unreservedly positive opinion.


Last edited by ono no komachi; 7th Sep 2011 at 16:41.
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Old 8th Sep 2011, 13:53   #2
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Default Re: The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito)

The trailer on TV had intrigued me, but this does sound quite an odd film! Still, your review has somehow made me more keen to see it. Will be back to let you know what I thought when I eventually do!
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Old 8th Sep 2011, 15:11   #3
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Default Re: The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito)

Ooh yes, do go and see it, Lucoid. I must say it was brilliant to be at the pictures again after a summer desert of blockbuster after blockbuster, and at the very least watching something which was interesting and disturbing, even if it didn't turn out to be my favourite film ever.

And this weekend is the opening of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, starring Gary Oldman as Smiley. Directed by Tomas Let the Right One In Alfredson and supporting cast including John Hurt as Control, Benedict Cumberbatch as Peter Guillam (a little young, perhaps?), Ciaran Hinds, Tom Hardy (yays!) and Colin Firth. How is it ever going to live up to my expectations?
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Old 8th Sep 2011, 15:35   #4
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Default Re: The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito)

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Originally Posted by ono no komachi View Post
And this weekend is the opening of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Damn. Next weekend.
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Old 8th Sep 2011, 15:49   #5
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Default Re: The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito)

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Originally Posted by ono no komachi View Post
Benedict Cumberbatch as Peter Guillam (a little young, perhaps?)
The Michael Jayston part (comparing the old TV version)? Hmm. You may be right.

It looks fabulous, mind.
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