The Skin I Live In (2011) Pedro Almodóvar
Someday, I would love to watch Almodovar’s entire filmography. From the ones I have seen (only about 6 I think), The Skin I Live in seems to be the most fine tuned - he builds on the same thematic concerns, while reining in the telenovela aspects. I think I loved Volver more, but I would love to watch this again.
Almodovar has always made melodramas, and some of the more heavy-handed elements do show up here, but they are manageable. He has used the theme of screens and watching before, most recently in Broken Embraces (which I did not care for at all), and it is used to great effect here. Moments of direct address, surveillance footage, a private screen that is larger than life, all lend to a feeling of suffocating closeness, and mirror the audience’s relationship to the film. At times this film is so intense, it’s almost hard to breathe.
I don’t know that I’ve ever really seen an Antonio Banderas movie before (I have liked him in small roles, like in Haywire or Four Rooms), but he was absolutely incredible. I will have to watch his other collabs with Almodovar -Matador, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and Tie Me Up Tie Me Down. Elena Anaya gave a mesmerizing, luminous, completely transfixing performance. And she’s so fucking beautiful. Marisa Paredes was excellent as always.
The cinematography and mise-en-scene is superb. I especially enjoyed the use of the art of Louise Bourgeois. The narrative construction felt a little clumsy, but I can’t see another way around it. Although not really known for his subtlety, there is enough left unsaid here. It all adds up to a really compelling film.
#91 - 4/30/2012