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Brief Analysis of Two Foreign Films, The Skin I Live In and The Night Porter

Updated on March 15, 2013

I enjoy watching foreign films. European movies focus on characters. The European director stresses the humanity or inhumanity of the protagonist.

Last night I watched a video of The Skin I Live (La Piel Que Habito), release date 2011, language Spanish with English subtitles. The director and principal screenwriter is Pedro Almodovar. The movie stars Antonio Banderas as Dr. Robert Ledgard and Elena Anaya as Vera Cruz. Dr. Ledgard is obsessed with his subject Vera. The film is an intense psycho drama bordering on horror. The scenes are explicit in violence and sexual content. I don’t recommend this movie for the faint of heart. The story location is Toledo, Spain, 2012. The screenplay’s substance is about a Doctor who does scientific experimentation with skin grafts, face musculature and nerve endings. The background music, scenery, dialogue, photography, direction and acting are superb. There are a number of twists, turns and characterizations that make this movie a work of art. The movie is a first rate production and the winner of many awards.

I relate The Skin I Live In to an Italian movie, The Night Porter (Il Portiere di Notte) released in 1974. The first time I watched this movie was in 1974 in an art theatre in Guadalajara, Mexico. The movie was in Italian with Spanish subtitles. Nine years later I watched the English language version in Manhattan. The director is Liliana Cavani who also wrote the screenplay. The film stars Dirk Bogarde as a night porter in a Vienna, Austria hotel circa 1958. Charlotte Rampling, a young, beautiful concentration camp survivor checks into the hotel, and recognizes the night porter (Dirk Bogarde) as a former Nazi concentration camp administrator. The movie documents the relationship between the night porter and the woman. The direction and acting are superior.

Movie buffs can increase their knowledge of film and appreciation of screenwriting by taking in a foreign movie every so often.

The Skin I Live In


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