Nov 17, 2011

La piel que habito, 2011 (The Skin I live In)

La piel que habito, 2011
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Jan Cornet

Stage: Kino Šiška, stage of Liffe. Hard and tight seats :)

La piel in short: In honor of his late wife who died in a flaming car accident, scientist, Dr. Robert Ledgard, is trying to synthesize the perfect skin which can withstand burns, cuts or any other kind of damage. As he gets closer to perfecting this skin on his flawless patient, the scientific community starts growing skeptical and his past is revealed that shows how his patient is closely linked to tragic events he would like to forget.

Preps: again, Liffe selection cannot go without Almodovar. I don't have a clue what the movie stands for. But I expect not to be dissappointed, responding to the fact that we are dealing with Almodovar.

Reality: I am excited from the beginning until the last second. Almodovar keeps up the pace and breaths with the expectations I have from one of his pieces. Still, an annoying thought runs through my mind - I have seen The human centipede a while ago and I must say that I am thinking about what was first - the centipede or this one? Or some other piece, on the approximately same topic. As we enter the dawn of movies that need a special thrill to keep the exciting mode on (like The Saw, etc), there have been several movies lately on this topic - a mad scientist (surgeon), living in oblivion or like a normal person, makes some sort of testing on live people.

This movie fits into one of these "Fritzl from Österreich categories. Since the stories about kidnapping some people and keeping them in basement, abusing them, making tests on them, have started to arise in public, also the respect/judgement for these cruel actions has started to reflect on movies. In this case, it's the case of vengeance of a father because a young man, under influence of drugs, seduces and "half"rapes his young daughter. "half" in sense, that up to a point it was an agreement, after that she loses her mind. And in vengeance seeking point, father kidnaps the boy and as a plastic surgeon he makes a woman out of him. Firstly, with vagina input, later on with complete transformation. And as a cherry to a cake, taking her in as his mistress. Now here most of the audience would get some sick signs in their stomachs. Nevertheless, the transformation is brilliant. Banderas in this piece as a great surgeon, trying to find a perfect uni-skin, that could resist to fire and everything that could hurt it. In this "ginny pig" test, he tests the skin on the real corps (breathing new woman called Vera).

There are many ways to depict the surgery. In Human Centipede you can vomit right in the middle of some scenes, if your stomach isn't that dandy. In this case, Pedro takes us on a slightly lighter mission - you can only imagine, what the operations are like, because you see the post effect and are not really there when he inserts the vagina, etc. So in some sense, a lighter version in comparison with others. However, things we depict ourselves in our imagination can be even tougher on soul than the ones that are on a plate in front of us.

Now, what is the father experiencing, is another thing. One sight of him as a scientist, and you are sure, he's in love with his profession. Being with the new Vera, takes us on a tour of a harmed, damaged ego and soul, because sadness and grief is reflecting from every pore he has. The third thing, seeing him as someone that tortures someone else for his sins, makes you convinced that every person can be cruel, if the terms are in favor of being harsh about something.

The middle scene with Tiger coming in, raping Vera, can be observed from a completely different perspective once you realize it was once a man this Tiger now is raping. And gives a dark influence on the complete scene. Do you applaud to the deserved punishment of persons? In this case, you cannot resist the flavor of revenge, because most of us disagree with violence in shape of raping women or men. However in this particular scene you don't feel with the raped man (now woman). You feel as if he deserves to get what he did to a girl. Eye for an eye. However, how severe must a punishment be? That's really up to individual to decide. Here you feel somehow deeply disturbed, and you never reach peace.

Somehow the kid manages to escape and appears before his mother as Vera. I feel that in this moment the movie is not really over, however, Almodovar decides to end it. Shame.. it would impress me to see the story afterwards. Now I only imagi how a person like this faces the new reality. And the people around it, obviously. A prime piece, worth seeing. And worth thinking about things we do and the way they echo in eternity.

My personal rate: 8,5
(worthy of every second)

La piel on IMDB

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