Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 31 October 2014

"Riveting, Unique and Unforgettable" - it sure is!

I did a round-up of horror/fantasy/trash movies earlier this month (like Schrader's CAT PEOPLE for my own 'October Horror Challenge' (see Horror label), like they do over at IMDB's Classic Film Board,), so for the last day of the month and Holloween, I finally took down Pedro Almodovar's recent and highly-praised THE SKIN I LIVE IN from 2012 which, much as I love Pedro, I seemed in no hurry to watch - and boy is this an October treat! It is another unique, fascinating movie - just as I had recovered from Wes Anderson's magical GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (below).

I somehow imagined this would be a riff on Franju's 1959's EYES WITHOUT A FACE, but that is just the starting point! The blurb says:
Released to rapturous reviews: "Stunning" (The Guardian), "Astounding" (The Observer), Pedro Almodovar's contemporary classic sees him reunited with Antonio Banderas in this sumptuous and spell-binding tale of obsession and beauty.
Haunted by past tragedies, a brilliant plastic surgeon sets out to create the perfect synthetic skin and to do so he needs the perfect living guinea pig. It is their wildly volatile, surreal and sensual relationship that fashions this "ravishing must-see movie with a must-keep-secret twist".

It looks marvellous of course, and (like Pedro's BAD EDUCATION) contains a dizzying story on many levels, with a jaw-dropping twist one does not entirely see coming .... The surgeon loses his beloved wife Gal in burning car accident, their daughter Norma gets raped at a party when she and the rapist (Jan Cornet as Vincente) are both high on pills, this drives her to suicide as her father plots revenge. Then there is his housekeeper Marilla (Marisa Paredes, from ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER) and the secret of her two sons - 
one of whom Zeca, dressed like a tiger, intrudes and causes havoc ..... not least on Vera (Elena Anaya), the woman kept prisoner who wears that synthetic skin, but who is she really .... ? Pedro structures the film so we go back and forth between the various disasters, each time getting nearer to the truth. You will certainly not be bored at this one ! It is all intoxicating cinema, particularly with the tiger Zeca on the rampage ! I can't say no more about the plot ...

After the misfire of I'M SO EXCITED which nobody liked, its great to see Almodovar firing on all cylinders. I now must to back to VOLVER and BROKEN EMBRACES, and maybe those terrific earlier ones like LAW OF DESIRE and WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN and the endlessly fascinating ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER and BAD EDUCATION and his others.. 

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