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Toledo, Spain is the first object of director Pedro Almodóvar's gaze in ‘The Skin I Live In’. The reclining cityscape is branded with the title ‘Toledo 2012’—although the film was released to audiences in 2011. The credit roll implies that a sci-fi nightmare gestates in the audience's blind spot and it will be born within the next blink of an eye.
True to the body horror genre, ‘The Skin I Live In’ grafts the seed of its ending to the beginning. Blink—and Vera appears (played by Elena Anaya, the coma victim in Almodovar's earlier ‘Talk to Her’), vital and perfectly formed, her flesh-coloured body stocking stretched in a yoga backbend. By the film's midpoint, we come to know Vera by the name she was called 6 years earlier when she was free, before she embodied an experiment more warped than the average mind (and the average male) would dream of conceiving. Vera, truth and spring in Latin, is the genetically modified germ of the mad scientist's demise.
Almodóvar's veteran, Antonio Banderas plays Dr Ledgard, a menacingly suave surgeon, who devotes his life to fortifying flesh. Ledgard …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.