The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito)

1 Dec

by Natalia Rodríguez Domínguez

 Brilliant Almodóvar! Only he could have created The Skin I Live in. Provocative, bizarre, dramatic, perverse, sensual, funny, surprising and moving in equal measure. A different macabre thriller which Pedro has simply mastered.

Award-winning Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar needed three months of shooting and a further 14 weeks of postproduction to be able to carry out this provoking morbid tale about obsessions, insanity and the struggle for survival. The Skin I Live in is based on Thierry Jonquet’s novel Mygale (“Tarantula”, in English) about a brilliant plastic surgeon who seeks revenge against the man who raped her daughter.

Despite starting working on the script in 1999, Almodóvar needed to write up to nine different versions of the script before daring to embark on the shoot of this masterpiece.  The Skin I Live in is considered  Almodóvar’s most mature film by both, himself and the public. In the director’s own words, this film is “the result of having done all my previous seventeen films, in every single aspect; something I couldn’t have done in my 20’s or 30’s but only from the maturity my current age and experience bring me”.

 

Following Almodóvar’s unconventional filmmaking style, this film is a delightful combination of multiple genres including intense drama, thriller and horror. Dr. Robert Lesgard (Antonio Banderas) is an unscrupulous plastic surgeon who, haunted by past tragedies such as his wife’s death, attempts to achieve a step forward in bio-medical sciences by creating a  super resistant synthetic skin to treat burn patients. His guinea pig: a mysterious beautiful woman called Vera (Elena Anaya) who hides the key to his obsession.

All in all, this film has supposed a challenge not only for the audience, but also for the cast who have been able to follow Almodóvar’s directions in a precise way and so to play their controversial and dark roles wonderfully. The different characters experience a non-return journey which is discovered as the nonlinear narrative unravels their personal past stories.

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