The Skin I Live In

August 17th, 2011

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The Skin I Live In

Still of Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya in The Skin I Live InStill of Pedro Almodóvar and Elena Anaya in The Skin I Live InMarisa Paredes at event of The Skin I Live InStill of Antonio Banderas and Pedro Almodóvar in The Skin I Live InStill of Antonio Banderas in The Skin I Live InStill of Marisa Paredes and Elena Anaya in The Skin I Live In

A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.

Release Year: 2011

Rating: 7.7/10 (24,473 voted)

Critic's Score: 70/100

Director: Pedro Almodóvar

Stars: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Jan Cornet

In honor of his late wife who died in a flaming car accident, scientist, Dr. Robert Ledgard, is trying to synthesize the perfect skin which can withstand burns, cuts or any other kind of damage. As he gets closer to perfecting this skin on his flawless patient, the scientific community starts growing skeptical and his past is revealed that shows how his patient is closely linked to tragic events he would like to forget.

Writers: Pedro Almodóvar, Agustín Almodóvar

Antonio Banderas - Robert Ledgard
Elena Anaya - Vera Cruz
Marisa Paredes - Marilia
Jan Cornet - Vicente
Roberto Álamo - Zeca
Eduard Fernández - Fulgencio
José Luis Gómez - Presidente del Instituto de Biotecnología
Blanca Suárez - Norma Ledgard
Susi Sánchez - Madre de Vicente
Bárbara Lennie - Cristina
Fernando Cayo - Médico
Chema Ruiz - Guardia civil
Buika - Cantante (as Concha Buika)
Ana Mena - Norma
Teresa Manresa - Casilda


Official Website: Official Facebook [United Kingdom] | Official Facebook [United States] |

Release Date: 17 August 2011

Filming Locations: A Estrada, Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain

Box Office Details

Budget: $13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: €558,002 (Italy) (25 September 2011) (280 Screens)

Gross: $5,774,854 (Spain) (9 October 2011)

Technical Specs


Factual errors: When a surgeon removes a rubber glove from its packing before surgery, he tries to keep the outside surface (the one that would be in contact with the patient) sterile. This prevents the contamination of incisions with germs in surgical interventions. However, he touches this sterile surface with his bare finger, contaminating the glove; at this point this glove should have been discarded instead of being used.

Norma: Clothes make me feel claustrophobic. I wish I could stay naked all the time.

User Review

The impossible film to pitch. Horror at it's best.

Rating: 10/10

"The Skin I Live In" is, like most films by the Spanish director a film that cannot be pitched or explained in a few sentences. I am reminded of his superb work in "Talk to her" and "All about my mother". "Talk to her" was a love story between a woman in a coma and her rapist while Mother was a film about a nun with AIDS, a transvestite with a hearth of gold and a woman searching for her son's heart. In one sentence Almodovar's films all sound twisted at best. But in the hands of a master they are beautiful works of art. Same goes for "The Skin I Live In". In a sentence (like many who haven't watched the film are quick to point out) the film sounds creepy at best and deals with a plot that makes most uncomfortable.

A plastic surgeon (Banderas) belongs to family straight out of Pasolini's Salo. He keeps a beautiful woman (Anaya) as a guinea pig and he tries to create a new kind of skin. But Anaya's character, in what seems the major metaphor of the film, preserves her inner persona intact regardless of what happens to her body. As in most of Almodovar's films the layers become more complex as the movie evolves and towards the end of the film there's a plot twist only Freud could have come up with.

Without spoilers I would like to point out that the director seems to use horror as a channel to explore the violation of every moral code embodied by the characters. With a magnificent score by Alberto Iglesias, Almodovar tries for a difficult genre and it pays off. The set design and cinematography, as always with Pedro's films is superb. At Canes the reception of the film was mixed an I can understand why. It simply isn't an easy movie to watch. For those who don't seem to have a problem with American horror movies where teens are stalked, raped and cut into little pieces by a chainsaw but are horrified by "The Skin I live In" I have a suggestion: Let's remember that fiction is indeed the only place when one can deal with horror and gore as metaphors for our human flaws, a place where we don't have to hide from our demons but we get to talk to them, a place where sickness gets no one hurt... Like Hitchcock used to say: It is only a movie, dear.

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