HAPHAZARD MUSINGS

La Piel Que Habito

Posted in Uncategorized by lmass on 03/09/2011

Aka, The Skin I Live In, is the new Almodovar movie. In an interview with the director himself, he suggests that it is a horror film done “his way”. It certainly is different – the vibrant colours and glamourous sexuality of Almodovar’s previous films are replaced with a measured colour palate and tense perversity which is bound to shock any viewer.

Antonio Banderas is the brilliant but sinister plastic surgeon Ledgard, whose tragic family story unfolds as the story reaches its climatic plot-twist. The doctor has been researching a new transgenetic skin to help burn victims. It is hard to discern whether he is tortured because of things that have happened to him, or whether these terrible things have happened because he tortures those around him. Is he mad or is he bad? Opposite Ledgard is the otherwordly Elena Anaya, who plays the passive and mysterious Vera, a ‘patient’ in the sprawling country home/clinic. Almodovar’s legendary ability to capture the beauty and grace of his spanish leading ladies boasts close ups of Anaya’s flawless feautures as she is watched by her creator-come-admirer through voyeuristic home surveillance. The prevailing question is – who is she? Is their apparent budding attraction due to the fact that she is his wife, brought back from the dead thanks to his surgical prowess? Or is there a darker, more abnormal history to the duo?

It is a story of control, vengeance, punishment and lust. Moreover, it is a story of identity and gender. The film bears similarities to El Secreto de Sus Ojos [The Secret in Their Eyes], an Argentinian thriller which has similar themes of entrapement, brutality and revenge. More disturbing than enjoyable, La Piel que Habito is still very much worth a watch, even if it is simply to gawp at Anaya’s perfect face.

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