Tuesday, December 13, 2011

La piel que habito: Director's Notes

La piel que habito/ The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodóvar, 2011)

Skin is the frontier that separates us from others: It determines the race to which we belong, it reflects our emotions and our roots, whether biological or geographic. Many times it reflects the state of the soul, but the skin isn't the soul. Although Vera has changed her skin, she hasn’t lost her identity. [...]

A story of these characteristics made me think of Luis Buñuel, Alfred Hitchcock, all of Fritz Lang’s films (from the gothic to the noir). I also thought of the pop aesthetic of Hammer horror, or the most psychedelic, kitsch style of the Italian giallo (Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Umberto Lenzi, Lucio Fulci…), and the lyricism of Georges Franju in Eyes Without a Face. After evaluating all these references, I realized that none of them fit with what I needed for The Skin I Live In. For some months I thought seriously about making a silent film, in black and white, with captions that showed descriptions and dialogue, paying tribute to Fritz Lang and F. W. Murnau. After doubting for months, I decided to go my own way and let myself be guided by my intuition — after all, it’s what I’ve always done — without the shadow of the maestros of the genre, and renouncing my own cinematic memory. I only knew that I had to impose an austere narrative, free of visual rhetoric and not at all gory, although a lot of blood has been spilled in the ellipses that we don’t see. I’ve been accompanied on this journey by José Luis Alcaine, the director of photography, to whom I didn’t explain what I wanted but rather what I didn’t want; he knew how to give the photography the density, the glow, and the darkness that suited it best. The composer Alberto Iglesias, the only artist I know without an ego; tireless, versatile, patient, capable of looking in one direction and then looking in the opposite direction if I wasn’t satisfied, always subject to the dictates of the story and my way of feeling it. And actors who were generous and precise, despite the obvious discomfort of some of their scenes. I’ll name them all: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Roberto Álamo, Blanca Suárez, Eduard Fernández, Susi Sánchez, Bárbara Lennie, and José Luis Gómez.
- Pedro Almodóvar, "Some Notes About The Skin I Live In", 
in TASCHEN's Magazine (Winter 2011/2012) [pdf]

Elena Anaya practices the "warrior" position, with a little help from Almodóvar
(Taschen's Magazine, Winter 2011/2012)

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