“The Skin I Live In” by Almodovar is a masterpiece, unique and complex in perception. As a basis, he took the plot from the book by Thierry Jonquet. The film was first presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011.
The world-famous Spanish doctor and scientist Robert Ledgard, who practices in the field of plastic surgery, has made a great discovery. Using the method of genetics, he created a unique human skin of its kind, which is not amenable to fire and has a peculiar smell, which repels insects that carry various diseases, including malaria. He calls her Gal, in honor of his dead wife.
The doctor lives in his own world, completely dedicated to science, and devotes little time to his loved ones. His wife, deprived of male love and affection, converges with the son of Marilia’s servant, they become lovers. While running away from home, the couple gets into a car accident. Seka, leaving his beloved in the burning car, hides. At the last minute, before the explosion, Robert saves his burnt wife.
One day, a woman on the mend heard the voice of her daughter Normita, who sang a song she knew. Going to the window, she saw her ugly reflection in it. Terrified by what she saw, the former beauty rushes down and breaks in front of the girl.
Little Normita undergoes severe mental trauma and takes a long time to heal. But soon she follows her mother, unable to endure the attempts to rape the young men Vincento, whom she met at the wedding of Donnie Casilda.
Heartbroken, Mr. Ledgard kidnaps the rapist and decides to take revenge on him: he turns Vincent into a woman (very similar to his wife) and makes experiments on her, transplanting the skin he invented.
The film has a tragic ending: Vincento (Vera), gaining confidence in his tormentor, kills him and Marilia and returns to his mother.
The meaning of the film
This film is an outstanding work of a master of his craft, who wants to convey to mankind that each of us has his own spiritual beginning, his own character, habits, his own pros and cons. Each person is individual in his own way and has the right to freedom. His body is just a shell, a shell, a package, under which there is a core: consciousness, intellect, morality. Developing science can completely change the appearance of a person, improve and improve his appearance, but it cannot remake or reshape his soul and completely subjugate him.
The new body for Vincent is just the skin in which he is forced to live now. He is not happy with the flawless and perfect female figure, the face of a beauty, donated by the surgeon. He still feels like a man.
From the proposed expensive cosmetics, he chooses only a pencil, not knowing how to handle the rest. He tears women’s dresses to shreds, he is unpleasant and painful caresses and sex from Robert. And he defends himself in every possible way from the cruel rapist Seki. Vera hates her body, cuts her throat without thinking, and every time she looks for an opportunity to escape. Practicing yoga is also not an accident, but a refuge and salvation of oneself.
The girl has no desire to watch programs about animals, because she does not want to feel like an animal in a cage. It seems that her skin is like a dead cocoon, where the true, real soul of a young man is hiding, thirsting for life. On the face – a cold calmness, and there, inside, a volcano is raging. Ledgard is a brilliant scientist, but he is not sincere and incapable of love, imperious and prudent. In order to achieve his goal, he works hard. He admires and is proud of his achievement, but he is indifferent to the feelings of others. Robert wants to subordinate everyone and everything to his will, demanding submission and obedience.
This is confirmed by the shot where he wraps the thin branches of a small tree with steel wire. Even here he imposes his strength and power. Because of his coldness, people who love him are subject to suffering, unhappy in life. The wife leaves for another, is afraid and hides in Normit’s closet, mistaking him for a rapist, Marilia dies, who does not even dare to tell him the truth that she is his mother.
He takes revenge on Vincento for his daughter, but by giving him the face of his wife and keeping him locked up, perhaps in this way he takes revenge on her for treason. After all, earlier it was not possible to get even.
Having done evil, he is also punished, his creation, Vera, shoots at him.
The meaning of the ending “The Skin I Live In”
The frivolous Vincento (Vera), who ruled in prison for several years in the house of a plastic surgeon, endured a lot of torment and realized that he had paid for his past carefree, irresponsible life and drug indulgence. He received in full. Most of all, he hurts for his suffering mother (a newspaper catches his eye, with his former portrait, where it is written that she is still looking for him).
And his soul wanted to break free from the skin-cell at any cost and return home. He knows that they are waiting for him there, they truly love him and will accept him even in someone else’s body.
Vera commits a double murder and leaves the doctor’s house.
The film sounds the idea that the soul is not subject even to genius. She is above all prohibition and limits, incorruptible and free!