by guest writer
La piel que habito (The Skin I Live In) opens the month dedicated to Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar. He is without any doubt Luis Buñuel’s successor and the only one able to speak through his films almost in the same manner as his predecessor. Saving up to buy a film camera in the early 1970s, he began making short movies until the death of Franco. A main figure in ‘La Movida Madrileña’, a cultural movement in the late ’70s in Madrid, Almodóvar was able to film his debut feature, the underground Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón in 1980. Along with other of his later works, like Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), Todo sobre mi madre (1999), La mala educación (2004) and Volver (2006), The Skin I Live In is one of the best films of his entire career.
Proving once again his talent as a screenplay writer, Almodóvar’s plot is focused on Robert Ledgard’s (skilfully played by Antonio Banderas) struggle and ambition to recreate a world and a family he has lost. Like in so many of his films, one of the striking elements are the colours and their symbolic use. Then, there is the majestic landscape of Toledo and the Mediterranean style house, that only add to a beautifully crafted film. It is my opinion that an inspiration for the film might have been Georges Franju’s Les yeaux sans visage (1960), to which the director added specific Almodóvar themes like unfulfilled love, pronounced sexuality and revenge. The excellent soundtrack, great cinematography and the actors’ performances are the pieces that, in the director’s specific impressive fashion, complete a complex film, one of the best of the last years.
photo: publicity still ‘La piel que habito’; production credits