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The Skin I Live In


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#1 Ryan H.

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 01:12 PM

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw9Kng4tYII"]http://www.youtube.c...h?v=gw9Kng4tYII[/url]

Slashfilm talks about THE SKIN I LIVE IN:

The story is about “a plastic surgeon’s revenge on the man who raped his daughter,” which leads to quite a few ideas about how the film could come close to horror, and how Almodovar might make a ‘terror film without screams.’ The script is based on the late Thierry Jonquet's novel Tarantula, which sounds…wild. It isn’t difficult at all to see how this might be easily the most caustic film Almodovar has made.

I’d guess that quite a few changes have been made by Almodovar, but if you’re not familiar with the novel and don’t want to know too much, you might want to skip the following synopsis.

Richard Lafargue is an eminent plastic surgeon haunted by dirty secrets. He has an operating theatre in the basement of his chateau and keeps his partner Eve imprisoned in her bedroom, a room he has equipped with an intercom and 300-watt speakers through which he bellows orders. Eve is only allowed out to be paraded at cocktail parties and on the last Sunday of each month, when the couple visit a young woman in a mental asylum. Following these outings, Lafargue humiliates Eve by forcing her to perform lewd sexual acts with strangers while he watches through a one-way mirror. In alternating chapters, Jonquet introduces seemingly unrelated characters – a criminal on the run after murdering a policeman, and an abducted young man who finds himself chained naked in a dark chamber, forced to endure all manner of physical torture at the hands of a mysterious stranger, whom he calls ‘Mygale’, after a type of tropical spider. All of these characters are caught in a deceitful web, doomed to meet their fate.


Edited by Ryan H., 18 November 2011 - 08:41 PM.


#2 Ryan H.

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 05:35 AM

Another trailer:



#3 Ryan H.

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 08:38 PM

The Guardian:

There will be some who find this film rather too absurd, with a whiff of shaggy dog, and some critics have found it essentially heartless. I would agree that it might not have the passion and empathy of, say, Volver, perhaps because women are sidelined. It is rather a tissue of surfaces, styles and images. That tissue gives a gorgeous caress.


The Independent:

What makes the film so unique is Almodóvar's approach toward his outlandish subject matter. It would be a mistake to describe his storytelling style as restrained. However, he directs in such deadpan fashion that you hardly notice how far-fetched the narrative really is. There is a fairy-tale element here too – a sense that in his own very perverse way, Almodóvar is revisiting the Beauty and the Beast myth. Banderas is the antithesis of the typical movie mad scientist: he's a soulful, introspective figure, more artist than monster. Elena Anaya is the woman he keeps locked away in his mansion in Toledo, moulding her so that she becomes more and more like his lost love. The film is ostensibly based on the novel Tarantula by Thierry Jonquet. However, Almodóvar, who usually writes his own screenplays, has utterly customised his source material. The result is one of his richest and strangest films.



#4 John Drew

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 12:18 AM

Ryan, I am so glad that I hadn't read the first post of this thread, because I went into this film tonight without any knowledge of what it was about... only that it was Almodovar. You might want to go back and blackout part of that first post.

This is a different Almodovar, to be certain, and I can see where some might find it lacking the heart of, say, Talk to Her. But enough emotional elements that spark other Almodovar films come through, and the ending proved to be something that put a lump in my throat. I guess I'm a sucker for the kind of resolution that he goes for here, and heartily recommend this.

As with other Almodovar films, this isn't for everyone. A lot of nudity and graphic sex. But if you made it through Talk to Her or Tie Me Up Tie Me Down, you should be okay with this. Definitely worth seeking out.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah, 19 November 2011 - 02:33 AM.


#5 Ryan H.

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 07:00 AM

Ryan, I am so glad that I hadn't read the first post of this thread, because I went into this film tonight without any knowledge of what it was about... only that it was Almodovar. You might want to go back and blackout part of that first post.

Done. Didn't know that it gave the game away, so to speak.

Definitely worth seeking out.

Good to know. I'm currently debating on whether to see MELANCHOLIA or this one tonight.

#6 John Drew

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 08:10 PM


Ryan, I am so glad that I hadn't read the first post of this thread, because I went into this film tonight without any knowledge of what it was about... only that it was Almodovar. You might want to go back and blackout part of that first post.

Done. Didn't know that it gave the game away, so to speak.

Definitely worth seeking out.

Good to know. I'm currently debating on whether to see MELANCHOLIA or this one tonight.



Black out the line about "revenge". This is what Almodovar sets up so well.

Skin and Melancholia were the titles I was debating. Definitely going to see Melancholia this weekend.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah, 18 November 2011 - 08:12 PM.


#7 Ryan H.

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 09:10 PM

I'm seeing THE SKIN I LIVE IN tomorrow night.

I hate to say it, but the review that has me most interested in THE SKIN I LIVE IN comes from none other than Armond White, who gives THE SKIN I LIVE IN a rave in a rare moment of agreement with the film critic mainstream.

#8 Ryan H.

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 07:38 AM

What a peculiar film this is. I'm having a hard time getting a handle on it. There are things I admire about the film, to be sure, including those opening moments with the odalisques and the voyeurism (the visual landscape of the film is very compelling), and those elements are enough to make me think better of this film than others I've seen this year. But this also seems like a Chan-Wook Park film without the strong moral interest. THE SKIN I LIVED IN is more interested in questions of identity, but I'm not convinced THE SKIN I LIVE IN has anything profound to offer on that point.

Not many films this year have had me itching to see them again. This film has me curious to see what a second viewing reveals.

Edited by Ryan H., 24 March 2013 - 09:09 PM.


#9 Persona

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 12:11 AM

Very typical Almodóvar, and I mean that in a (mostly) good way.

I might be of a different mindset with Almodóvar's films as I tend to like what he's done lately more than what he did years ago. Volver and Broken Embraces are probably my favorite of his films, and I'd probably rank The Skin I Live In somewhere behind those two. (I've seen nine of his films that I can remember, so that's a pretty good ranking I think.)

I absolutely LOVED the music, and it reminded me of (who else?) Almodóvar. I love his ability to switch from classical movie score to drum and bass filler, and I loved the spanish alto who seemed thrown in for screen time simply because Pedro loved her too. (IIRC, he does this from time to time.)

Banderas was awesome - it's the kind of role he functions best in. Elena Anaya was also excellent - and beautiful - but I kept seeing her and thinking about Almodóvar's "muse," Penélope Cruz. It seems to me the part was tailor-made for her. I wonder if she couldn't fit it into her schedule.

The story IS over the top, but the busted timeline makes it a lot of fun. Most here who are skilled with Story will see an element of the ending coming
Spoiler
, but I don't think that matters a bit for what Pedro is relaying here.

And huh. Just WHAT is he trying to relay? That question is interesting to me. I'm not sure there's a point, but rather a story, one that fits in an interesting way with the times in which we live.

#10 Ryan H.

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 10:00 AM

Very typical Almodóvar, and I mean that in a (mostly) good way.

In terms of his themes, yeah, it's *very* Almodovar.

I might be of a different mindset with Almodóvar's films as I tend to like what he's done lately more than what he did years ago. Volver and Broken Embraces are probably my favorite of his films, and I'd probably rank The Skin I Live In somewhere behind those two. (I've seen nine of his films that I can remember, so that's a pretty good ranking I think.)

I like VOLVER, was bored to tears by BROKEN EMBRACES, and mostly prefer his energetic, early stuff.

I absolutely LOVED the music, and it reminded me of (who else?) Almodóvar. I love his ability to switch from classical movie score to drum and bass filler

That's Alberto Iglesias for you. It's one of two fine scores he turned out this year, the other being TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY.

The story IS over the top, but the busted timeline makes it a lot of fun.

I had a hard time experiencing THE SKIN I LIVE IN as fun. There's just too much sexual and psychological violence here.

But the more I think about it, the way Almodovar shapes the timeline of the film ultimately robs the story of any emotional value it might otherwise have by constantly disorienting us and keeping us at a remove from these characters. Things might have fared better had Almodovar gone a different route and given us uncomfortable intimacy with the characters instead. As it stands, the film doesn't really (*ahem*) get under the skin.

And huh. Just WHAT is he trying to relay? That question is interesting to me. I'm not sure there's a point, but rather a story, one that fits in an interesting way with the times in which we live.

From my POV, the whole film is a study of the tension between appearance and essence.

Edited by Ryan H., 24 March 2013 - 09:06 PM.


#11 Persona

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 01:22 PM

Yeah. I did forget to mention this: there are very few films where I leave thinking, "The ending should have resolved like this, rather than the way they chose to resolve it." While I can understand the final scene as putting a lump in the throat, as Baal referred to above, I think it could/should have been summed up better without the use of a gun, or the murders. I kinda liked the promises that were made, and think the film could have ended somewhere along those grounds.

#12 John Drew

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:40 PM

Yeah. I did forget to mention this: there are very few films where I leave thinking, "The ending should have resolved like this, rather than the way they chose to resolve it." While I can understand the final scene as putting a lump in the throat, as Baal referred to above, I think it could/should have been summed up better without the use of a gun, or the murders. I kinda liked the promises that were made, and think the film could have ended somewhere along those grounds.


I totally agree about the gunplay. That did feel like a cheat coming from Almodovar. The reunion at the end, however, feels like pure Almodovar. A moment that reminded me of the ending of Talk To Her. Almodovar's films sometimes remind me of books by Elmore Leonard. I wrote the following post over on the Justified TV series forum regarding the final episode of the first season, and think that the point I was trying to make there can also be applied for some of the films of Almodovar...

Thinking about it more today, what I really liked best about the season finale is that it kept true to the spirit of a lot of Elmore Leonard's novels. So many of them end on a note that there is more story that is going to occur after the last page, but the necessary parts of the current story are concluded, and you don't feel gypped. That's a difficult trick to pull off, but Leonard makes it seem effortless. The end of Out of Sight comes to mind, when Jack Foley ends up seated next to Hejira Henry, who just happens to be an expert at escaping custody - the main story for Out of Sight is satisfactorily concluded, but the reader is left with the feeling that the continuing story of Jack Foley is just beginning.

Same could be said of Justified. Last nights episode completed a terrific story, while leaving room for more to be told. It was refreshing that it didn't conclude on a cliffhanger note. But, had last nights episode been the final episode, the series would have felt complete, IMHO.


There a several Almodovar films that also feel as though new stories are about to start just as he is concluding the current story he is telling, and the last frame fades out.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah, 15 January 2012 - 02:52 PM.