A new trailer for director Pedro Almodovar’s latest psycho-spiritual exploration The Skin I Live In has become available – right on the heels of the announcement that the award-winning auteur would act as the Guest Artistic Director for this year’s AFI Fest.
Almodovar has brought the world some of the most hilarious, outrageous, disturbing, and strangely/hypnotically beautiful films of our time. Tales of extraordinary people in often outlandish circumstances, his films maintain a sense of relatability and emotional truth despite often being hyperreal – and often have the ability to haunt the viewer. In fact, many of Almodovar’s films offer at least one scene that will sear itself into your memory for years to come – and by the sounds of it, The Skin I Live In will be no exception.
Based on the novel by french author Thierry Jonquet, The Skin I Live In is a horror-thriller with a twist that critics are saying will have you gasping or laughing. If it fulfills its promise as an Almodovar creation, the film (and its final revelation) will likely have you doing both.
The Skin I Live In marks the first time that Almodovar and his long lost discovery, Antonio Banderas, have worked together since 1990’s Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down – a film that begs the question: Can a rape scene make you laugh? (We leave it to you to answer that query for yourselves). In this film Bandaras stars as a plastic surgeon who plays god and artist when he (as some hybrid of Professor Henry Higgins and Dr. Frankenstein) literally recreates a woman from genetically modified human skin.
As much as the combination of the storyline for The Skin I Live In and the players involved intrigues us, this trailer leaves a bit to be desired. It feels somewhat like the Cliffs Notes version of what we imagine is a far more interesting, layered, and dynamic tale. Perhaps the marketing department found it necessary to do their best to unravel an intricate plot and lay it out as neatly as possible for an English speaking audience. Rather than delivering a linear storyline, however, this trailer just reads like a series of platitudes interspersed with what they hope is compelling imagery. Very little of the story is revealed, and what is there fails to captivate the audience with a tease of the tone, mood, or overall experience the film will deliver.
Having said that, we imagine that a filmmaker as complex as Almodovar presents several challenges to those hoping to capture his work in a trailer. Moreover, directors often have little or nothing to do with the marketing campaigns for their films, and trailers are often deceptive – so as someone who has been an Almodovar fan for many years, this is still one I will be watching for in theaters come this October.
Pedro Almodóvar directs a cast that includes Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Jan Cornet, Marisa Paredes from a script by Pedro Almodóvar based on the novel by Thierry Jonquet.
The Skin I Live In opens in theaters on October 14th.
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