Film: The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito)

Year: 2011

Director: Pedro Almodóvar

Venue: The Lexi Cinema, London


Antonio Banderas

Blanca Suarez

Elena Anaya

Marisa Paredes

Running time: 120 minutes.

Other Info:

The film is based on Thierry Jonquet’s book, Tarantula.

The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito) - Pedro Almodóvar - POSTER - BOOK

I’d witnessed the trailer to this and it intrigued me enough to go & see it. That’s the job of a trailer though, to intrigue.

This film was obviously going to be audacious but while being grandiose at the same time. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it would be guaranteed good.

On entering the Lexi cinema – my first ever, and long overdue visit – I was not only intrigued by this film but also the lovely venue. It not only helps us punters see brilliant movies, it also helps less-fortunate persons – more on this at the foot of the review.

Enter Antonio Banderas… Not into this picturehouse but onto the screen, in the first scenes of the movie.

Along with Robert (Antonio’s character) we have a girl who is involved. Let’s try to describe her… Pretty, Dark-haired & Skinny – Skinny? Well, that’s one way to describe her…

The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito) - Pedro Almodóvar - Lab - Coat - Skin

How are these two connected? There seems to be a strong bond or care for one another. It’s difficult to tell, but it is clear who has control in this ‘relationship’. Perhaps a more apt word would be chemistry – I hope I don’t need to eLABorate.

The third almost central character is the mother of Robert. It’s clear she would be one to continuously dote on her son. It’s not clear though, whether she cares or does not care for ‘the girl’.

It is fair to say that Robert’s subject of interest, desire & main focus is a kept girl. Perhaps not in the traditional sense of that expression though. It’s only the unfolding of this often creepy tale which reveals why she is there with him. Although, just when we feel we know what’s going on we’re often diverted to another aspect of the story.

The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito) - Pedro Almodóvar - Chemistry - Spanish

Incidentally – and if you hadn’t guessed from trailers or posters – the girl appears to be wearing a body stocking of sorts. Not only this, Robert explains that this subject matter (or at least a process in his professional field of work) involves a certain animal. You could indeed refer to this as pig-mentation. And yes, that hyphen is intentional. I’m a swine, I know.

There is a tale or two of Robert’s family, enemies, loves & his past. The past being intertwined with all those aspects. All these past events and present ones are not only shocking, they are brilliantly executed too.

A bizarre fancy-dressed individual appears at one point and helps to push the story on a bit, of indeed it needed it. Such a character does not seem out of place here… Almost [David] Lynch-esque.

Saying the story doesn’t need pushing is perhaps not entirely true… It does help to spiral our confusion and intrigue out of control even further. This is a feat much due it’s credit.

The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito) - Pedro Almodóvar - Chemistry - Tarantula

Bizarreness also appears in the form of many shots, whether coincidental or intended.


A shop is featured and an old woman appears in a window-like-hatch. I saw her and the box surrounding as a kind of Portrait Painting, like you’d see in a Good Gallery.

Then, a straw-like model is spookily being dressed or even assembled – this, through Mini Mini’s eyes resembled a burn-victim previously featured in the film. This victim seems to play an integral role in the story.

Do you want another example or example-come-analogy…? Ok…

This time, the subject matter of ‘pigs’ springs up in this tall ‘tail’ [*sigh*]… Indeed, a certain person drinks water from a bucket, just like a pig and it’s trough.

The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito) - Pedro Almodóvar - Horror / Comedy... Genre

Finally – and hopefully not a spoiler – there is a line used, “You’ll see , when the time comes…” which could almost be a nod towards a certain man and his ability or non-ability to ejaculate.

Encompass all these goings on with the feel and look of the picture as a whole, and you have the embodiment of a delicious viewing experience.

To break this deliciousness down a little:

There are first & foremost, succulent colours and sounds. The latter quality never being more prominent than when a singer is seen performing – it’s almost as if it’s been recorded separately, over the top of all else. Of course, recording sound separately is not uncommon… Far from it but here it seems unique & intentional.

Then we have well-thought out angles & shots. Instead of the very standard full-shot of a ballroom full of party-goers, which has been used in many a film we are shown something rather different. The characters in the foreground are not displayed fully, and then we move on into the goings-on and event in hand. Why do we not see these individuals heads? Simply, I guess due to them being irrelevant in the story. Mini Mini’s opinion, of course.

The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito) - Pedro Almodóvar - The Bed - The Couple ?

To play on the word Sexy a little would be to give away perhaps more than one should about this truly dark & remarkable picture. Instead, go and see this movie and if it’s still playing at the same venue, go & get Sexi at the Lexi.

A Mini Mini Moving story of the Lexi… from their own words:

The Lexi Cinema – The UK’s First Social Enterprise Boutique Cinema

100% of The Lexi’s profits go towards improving the quality of life for the people of Lynedoch Village in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Every ticket, every membership you buy, every bowl of popcorn, every glass of wine and every event you hold at The Lexi goes towards making a real difference to the lives of the families at Lynedoch.”

The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito)  Year:  2011  Director:  Pedro Almodóvar  - LEXI LOVE ME

And… Not forgetting…:

Mini Mini Movie (i.e. Trailer)

Find this Trailer and other Minier [ok, that’s not a real word, but…] Movies here at:

“The Film I Appear In”: