The Skin I Live In

The Skin I Live In poster

Review by Lucía Santiago Dantés

Tells Ovid in his book “Metamorphoses” that after seeing the Propoetides prostitude themselves, a Cypriot sculptor named Pygmalion decided he was not interested in women anymore. Instead Pygmalion created a woman of his own in a statue but after he was finished, Pygmalion fell in love with it. On the day of Aphrodite’s Festival, Pygmalion made his offerings to Venus secretly wishing the ivory statue becomes real. When he returned home he kissed the statue and became alive. The skin I live in (la piel que habito) is the story of the modern Pygmalion told in the unique way that only Almodóvar could give. Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) is a brilliant doctor and investigator, we could also say he is a mad scientist. Inside his big house he has everything he needs: a lab to continue his researches, trustable servants and a woman named Vera (Elena Anaya) who’s kept locked in a room. Away from everything that might harm her. We could think she is a woman who’s trying to commit suicide but as in all Almodóvar movies, there’s always more than meet the eyes. We don’t know who Vera is, and why she is there.  But what we can see is that Robert takes care of her on his own bizarre way, but we also realize he has feelings for her. Marilla (Marisa Paredes) is Robert’s housekeeper. She doesn’t know much about Vera but she doesn’t trust her. She thinks something is odd about her. One day a man dressed in a tiger costume arrives to the isolated house. It’s Zeca (Roberto Alamo) Marilla’s son. Zeca is a very dangerous man. Robert doesn’t know but Zeca is about to create chaos for the second time in his life.

As all Almodóvar movies, the past is something that torments the characters, surrounded by a carnavalesque parade of characters that either make you laugh or gasp at their actions.  The skin I live is a great exercise on telling out of the ordinary stories to recreate ordinary feelings like love, hate and passion. The skin is a movie that certainly pays a great homage to Greek mythology.


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