Sandy George has five reasons to watch Pedro Almodovar's bizarro melodrama.
6 Feb 2014 - 4:01 PM  UPDATED 24 Jun 2021 - 11:50 AM

Sex appeal abounds

Antonio Banderas is one of this planet's most undeniably hot actors. He could play a verandah post and still look sexy. In The Skin I Live In he plays the renowned plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard, who has developed a resistant synthetic skin and does not hesitate to use his skills to his advantage. The success and arrogance implicit in this role acts is an aphrodisiac that enhances Banderas's natural sex appeal. So does the way that Banderas plays Ledgard so coldly: keeping a tight lid on the passion and revenge that's driving the medico's actions gives him a very attractive aloofness. Elena Anaya, who plays the object of Ledgard's obsession, is pretty easy on the eyes too, and regular Almodovar actress Marisa Paredes has, undoubtedly, still got it.

Mental workouts are good for the brain

Health professionals say that it is as important to exercise the mind, as it is to keep the body in good shape. Successfully keeping abreast of the plot in The Skin I Live is a two-hour workout that's far more challenging than the average game of Sudoko or Scrabble. The scriptwriters, director Pedro Almodovar and his brother Agustin, deserve congratulations for letting their imaginations go wild.

Decide which critics suit

Critics were significantly divided by The Skin I Live In. They couldn't seem to agree on anything except that the film is a hybrid in terms of genre elements – but whether it successfully combined those different elements and whether the new genre for this filmmaker was horror or science fiction was much disputed. Another key disagreement was whether Almodovar had nailed his pet subject of sexual identity or gone off the rails. The film is, therefore, a terrific opportunity to decide which critics should be depended on to determine future film viewing decisions and which should be left to languish unread or unheard.

Believe in the BAFTAs

The Skin I Live In won the BAFTA Award in the category for films not in the English language. Also in contention was Asghar Farhadi's fabulous drama A Separation.

Revel in the melodrama

The production of 5,800-and-something episodes of Home and Away in 25 years proves the consistent appeal of melodrama. In the world of film, Pedro Almodovar is the reigning king of melodrama. His stories always teeter on the edge of believably: The Skin I Live In has familial secrets, kidnapping, murder, date rape and bestiality (kind of). It's voyeurism, but it's legal voyeurism, so go right ahead and enjoy it.



Watch 'The Skin I Live In'

Sunday 4 July, 11:05pm on SBS World Movies / Streaming after at SBS On Demand

Spain, 2011
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Horror
Language: Spanish
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet

Why You Should Watch: The Skin I Live In
Sandy George has five reasons to watch Pedro Almodovar's bizarro melodrama.
The Skin I Live In: Elena Anaya interview
The diminutive beauty discusses her career-changing role in Pedro Aldomovar’s new film.


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