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Critical study of Spanish film: La piel que habito

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  1. Introduction
  2. La piel que habito
  3. Almodovar
  4. Entrapment
  5. Analysis
  6. Conclusion

Almodovar 's 2001, La piel que habito , received mixed reviews from Spanish critics, one favourably calling it an ?irracionalidad transcendida? whereas Spanish film critic Carlos Boyero called it a ?notable idiotez? . However, most critics agree that this film merits a second viewing in order to appreciate the rich texture of the film, in which a lonely and haunted plastic surgeon (Banderas) becomes dangerously entangled with his personal experiment, Vicente, or ?Vera? (Anaya) whom he believed had assaulted his mentally ill daughter, provoking her suicide. The film is the director's first exploration of science fiction, containing an amalgamation of themes concerning gender and sexuality identity, whilst at the same time exploring the prison house of the self. In this essay I will discuss the ways in which these main themes are manifested in the plot and cinematography, their effect and finally the way in which Spanish critics have received Almodóvar's latest work.

Entrapment, or, the prison house of the self, is the confinement that all Almodóvar's characters in Piel are subjected to in some form or another. It is through this mental and in Vera's case, physical, confinement that tension is cleverly built up in the first half of the film, showing Almodóvar's ability to manipulate the viewers until revealing the film's twist. The opening shot is of a sleepy Toledo, in which the looming presence of ?El Cigarral? can be seen behind bars, foreshadows this theme of incarceration. The bustle of Madrid is nowhere to be seen in this Almodóvar film, emphasizing the isolation of the characters. Furthermore, Vera's confinement, the physical isolation of her cell and her body suit are juxtaposed with the palatial house in which she is held prisoner; whereas Robert's solitude is all the more intensified by it. However, each characters confinement directs them in opposite directions, Vera's prison is unlocked both literally and symbolically the moment that Robert kills his unknown half-brother Zeca, and inadvertently unlocks his own passion for Vera.

[...] Initially we watch Vera as she moulds clothes into faceless figures, and later we see Vicente dressing up a mannequin in his mothers shop. In this way, Vera's actions represent a process of creation that contrasts to Robert's character, who can only manipulate objects; for example, scientifically modify blood or even his bonsai trees- contorting them to grow the way he desires. Robert has tried to impose transcendence on his victim, whose body he hopes will become the site of his redemption, therefore we can regard this film a type of meditation on the resurrection of the flesh- indicated even in the name of Ledgard's house, Cigarral?, alluding to the insect that dies only to be resurrected after shedding its skin. [...]


[...] Spanish Writers on Gay and Lesbian Themes: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook. Greenwood Publishing Group Allinson, Mark. A Spanish Labyrinth: The Films of Pedro Almodóvar. I.B. Tauris Web Resources Carlos Boyero, Horror frío? No, horror grotesco, El País, 2nd September http://elpais.com/diario/2011/09/02/cine/1314914404_850215.html Jordi Costa, La piel que habito, o http://www.25fotogramas.tv/los-criticos Andrew O'heir, Almodóvar builds a new Frankenstein, Salon. October 2011. [...]


[...] Critical study of Spanish film: La piel que habito ?Write a critical study of a recent Spanish or Latin American film or play that you have seen, and that has made a social or political impact in the country in which you are living. You should bring into your study criticism and reviews, both from the press and, where possible, from academic sources, and discuss the ways in which the film has been received and analysed, making comparisons with other films where appropriate.? Almodóvar 's 2001, La piel que habito[1], received mixed reviews from Spanish critics, one favourably calling it an ?irracionalidad transcendida?[2] whereas Spanish film critic Carlos Boyero called it a ?notable idiotez?[3]. [...]


[...] Almodóvar also uses the setting and backdrop of the film to raise questions about identity with the enormous works of art that adorn El Cigarral. In one painting, we see a naked man and woman in Olympian poses, however they are faceless, suggesting a unknown identity, or a lack of it, also insinuated by the headless mould that Robert uses for fabricating his burn proof skin. The way in which language is used in the film also evokes questions about identity, Robert says rostro nos identifica? whereas Vera's silence shows her resolve to guard her own identity, as she silently, but frantically shreds up the dresses intended for her, thereby assimilating the new rostro or identity that Robert has fashioned for her. [...]


[...] Bibliography DVD's La piel que habito, Pedro Almodóvar, Pathé Átame, Pedro Almodóvar, Twentieth Century Fox La mala educació, Pedro Almodóvar, Twentieth Century Fox Todo sobre mi madre, Pedro Almodóvar, Twentieth Century Fox Tacones lejanos, Pedro Almodóvar, Optimum Home Releasing Los abrazos rotos, Pedro Almodóvar, Cameo Books Kakoudaki, Despina. All about Almodóvar: A Passion for Cinema. University of Minnesota Press Almodóvar, Pedro & Willoquet-Maricondi, Paula. Pedro Almodóvar: Interviews Conversations With Filmmakers Series. University Press of Mississippi Smith, Julian Paul. Spanish Screen Fiction: Between Cinema and Television. Liverpool University Press Foster, David William. [...]

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