With The Skin I Live In (La piel que habito ), Pedro Almodóvar delivers yet another twisted masterpiece, compounding his genius for turning the ridiculous into the sublime. Westport Film Club will be hosting a screening of the movie in Westport Cineplex on Wednesday, February 1 at 8.45pm.
The Spanish auteur’s latest visually sumptuous film is in equal parts a seductive melodrama, Gothic horror, poetic myth and suspense thriller, brimming with calculated perversity, intelligent wit, beauty and spectacle. It visits Almodóvar’s recurring themes of maternal devotion, sexual identity, transgenderism, obsessional activity, and the destructive power of male desire. Only someone as talented as Almodóvar could, or indeed would wish to, mix such elements.
Antonio Banderas forgoes the bright lights of Hollywood and animated cats, reuniting with Almodóvar, 21 years after Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, in his mother tongue. Debonair, with a chilling touch of menace, Banderas gives a riveting soul-weary performance as accomplished and respected plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard. The sinister plot evolves as he retreats to his private operating theatre in Toledo, assisted by his accomplice: austere, chain-smoking, platinum-wigged, loyal housekeeper Marilia, played by long time Almodóvar collaborator, the formidable Marisa Paredes.
The film is inspired loosely by the French novel Mygale in which an eminent plastic surgeon has a secret operating theatre in the basement of his suburban mansion, a beautiful, submissive partner whom he keeps under lock and key, and a teenage daughter in an asylum. To reveal much more would spoil Almodóvar’s beautifully constructed script. He has always loved to experiment with chronology, nonlinear narratives and lapidary techniques. Initially confusing, The Skin I Live In emerges as a beautifully crafted story. It teases you with its mysteries and subtle clues and neatly ties up all its loose ends, some of them in an unexpectedly horrific manner.
The Skin I Live In will be screened at Westport Cineplex on Wednesday, February 1, at 8.45pm. Westport Film Club screens eight films a year at Westport Cineplex. Annual membership of €40 covers all screenings. Entry to each film for non-members is €10.