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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Pedro Almodovar

'The Skin I Live In': An exclusive look behind the scenes [video]

October 13, 2011 |  5:35 pm

The skin i live in
In "The Skin I Live In," the new film from Pedro Almodóvar opening Friday, Antonio Banderas portrays a complex and diabolical control freak, a plastic surgeon haunted by a tragic past. The rich, handsome doctor is keeping a beautiful young woman, Vera (Elena Anaya), captive in the fortress-like home he shares with his sinister housekeeper, Marilia (Marisa Paredes, another of Almodóvar's longtime accomplices). The reasons for this are revealed as the film unfolds.

Clad in a flesh-colored body stocking and kept under constant camera surveillance while she sleeps, eats and practices yoga, Vera harbors a secret that can't be breached by the doctor's gleaming knives. Slicing and splicing multiple ideas and emotions, "The Skin I Live In" is an Almodóvarian blend of kink, exuberance, sly cultural allusions and questions about human identity.

Almodóvar and Banderas, both Spaniards, began their collaborations some 25 years ago, with films including "Matador" (1986), "Law of Desire" (1987) and "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" (1988); "Skin" reunites them for the first time in about two decades. The two talked in a Thursday Times piece about their long friendship (you can read it here). See below for an exclusive look at the film and how it was put together:

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-- Reed Johnson

Photo: Pedro Almodovar, left, and Antonio Banderas kiss Elena Anaya during a photo call presenting their movie "The Skin I Live In" in Rome. Credit: Virginia Farneti/Associated Press


Toronto 2011: Almodóvar, Banderas reunite in 'Skin I Live In'

September 11, 2011 |  7:03 pm

 

Pedro Almodóvar and Antonio Banderas, whose latest collaboration, "The Skin I Live In," screens Sunday night at the Toronto International Film Festival, were little-known talents outside the Spanish-speaking world in the mid-1980s.

Then the early movies the Spanish compatriots made together, including "Matador" (1986), "Law of Desire" (1987) and "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" (1988), started showing up in U.S. and European art-house theaters, and stirring up bilingual chatter on the festival circuit. They went on to co-conspire in "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" (1990), a characteristically Almodóvarian saga of twisted love and kinky mind games, stuffed with enough pathos and melodrama to stock an entire TV network's worth of telenovelas.

Now they've teamed up again for the first time in 20 years on "The Skin I Live In," restoring Banderas to the Spanish director's stable of favorite actors that also includes Penelope Cruz and Carmen Maura.

Based on Thierry Jonquet’s novel "Tarantula," with nods to "Vertigo" and "The Bride of Frankenstein," Almodóvar's latest film unspools the tale of Dr. Robert Ledgard (Banderas), a brilliant plastic surgeon troubled by a personal tragedy that occurred years earlier.

For some time, his obsessive and miraculous experiments have been focused on Vera (Elena Anaya), a beautiful young woman held captive by the doctor and under 24/7 surveillance. Throw in a mysterious housekeeper (Marisa Paredes), a violent intruder dressed in a tiger suit, sexual encounters gone horribly wrong, philosophical musings about human identity and a serious "ick" factor, and you have one of Almodóvar's most daringly extreme cinematic visions and one of Banderas' most perversely compelling performances.

The movie is scheduled to open in L.A. later this fall. Almodóvar will serve as the guest artistic director of the American Film Institute's 25th AFI Fest in Hollywood in November.

RELATED:

Pedro Almodovar to be AFI Fest guest artistic director

Pedro Almodovar's 'Broken Embraces' gets personal

Master of the Outrageous : For Spain's Pedro Almodovar, Life Is Just a Bowl of the Offbeat

-- Reed Johnson


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