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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 86 | volume XV | September-October, 2012



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 86September-October, 2012

It Is I, Vicente!

p. 1
Sašo Dimoski

The Skin I Live In (“La piel que habito“, 2011) seems to be one of those films that are watched only once – a sudden twist film, when the moment of complete surprise, which is somewhere mid-way in the film, gives the initial story a completely new dimension. Hence, each time it is watched again, the knowledge of the surprise already “spoils” this effect. However, with each new viewing, we understand that this film is much more than a surprise movies or a story with a twist. Its story is much deeper and has many more meanings than it seems; each new viewing peels yet another layer which reveals a new dimension. Thus, The Skin I Live In has strong elements of a horror story,[1] a drama, and even a psychological thrisller, but also of a “Spanish” soap opera. At an interpretative level, the film is also contemplation about the boudaries and limitations of the inner and outer space regarding the phylosophical questions about freedom as opposed to fate, or choice as opposed to what is given. How are all of these elements found in the film?

* * *

     The story of The Skin I Live In is the following: Dr. Ledgard, a scientist and a plastic surgeon, tries and manages to bring his wife Gal to life after an accident in which she suffers horrible burns. However, after getting better, she sees her deformed face and kills herself by jumping from the window and falling in front of their daughter’s feet; the daugther remains psuchologically fragile after this event and eventually she ends her life in the same way as her mother. After this tragedy, Dr. Ledgard dedicates himself to the mission of discovering a new skin that would be resistant to fire and other injuries. However, his researh, which uses stem cells and cloning, is considered unethical by part of his colleagues, and therefore, a dangerous one to be researched. He conducts his experiments on a female patient who lives closed in a room inside his luxurious villa (where he also illegally conducst various plastic surgeries). By reminiscence, flashbacks, moving back and forth in the story, via the above mentioned moment of surpriose, Almodovar reveals the real identity of the woman that dr. Ledgard calls Vera. It turns out that Vera is actually Vicente, a young man Dr. Ledgard considers responsible for his daughter’s suicide. In order to take his revenge


1. Álmodovar himself has described his film as a “horror story without screams or frights” (Ríos Pérez, Sergio (5 May 2010). "Álmodovar, Badyona make 'ambitious, high-quality European films from Spain'". Cineuropa;, accessed on 3 June, 2012).

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