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2 reviews, 5 user ratings

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In My Skin
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by Elaine Perrone

"If you're strong enough to handle it, In My Skin will make yours crawl!"
4 stars

In this horrific but compelling study of a woman's descent into madness, writer and first-time director Marina de Van (co-writer, with François Ozon, of Under the Sand and 8 Femmes) casts herself as Esther, a young woman who becomes fascinated with her body after suffering a disfiguring injury.

While attending a party, Esther strolls outside alone in the dark and trips over a pile of scrap metal, taking a fall and badly gashing her leg. Returning to the party, she tells her friend Sandrine (Léa Drucker) that she has torn her trousers, not realizing she has torn open her leg until she sees a trail of blood across a bedroom rug and on the bathroom floor.

After having her leg sutured in an emergency room, Esther returns home where she embarks on an intensive study of her skin, pinching and stretching it and endlessly examining her wound. Her erratic behaviour escalates to the next level at her office, where she skulks into a storeroom and begins digging at the healing scar and creating new wounds with a sharp metal object.

At a business dinner with clients, Esther embarrasses her boss by getting drunk on wine and spacing out of the group's conversation. What her boss and the clients don't realize, of course, is that while Esther isn't keeping up her end of the conversation, she's all the while obsessing on the animal flesh on the plates around her, envisioning herself sticking her (disembodied) hand into the food, and surreptitiously stabbing her arm with a knife and fork under the tablecloth. It is at this point that Esther truly goes mad in earnest, checking into a hotel room where she engages in an orgy of self-mutilation, vampirism, and self-cannibalism.

On one level, until her total descent into derangement at the end, Esther seems to maintain some idea of the wrongness of her actions, going so far as to fake an auto accident to "explain" her injuries to her boyfriend Vincent (Laurent Lucas).

It should go without saying that In My Skin is far from being for all tastes. On the one hand, it is as excruciating as a traffic accident: unbearable for some, horrifying but compelling for others who can't turn their eyes away. On the other hand, it is a beautifully rendered portrait of burgeoning madness, perhaps not equal to but certainly reminiscent of the best of the genre (Roman Polanski's Repulsion and The Tenant quickly coming to mind).

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8037&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/18/04 22:09:20
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/06/05 MyGreenBed Doesn't seem to have a point, isn't provocative, no ending, but yet nice to watch in a way. 3 stars
12/04/04 K. Sear Compelling and in some ways disgusting. An intersting film. 4 stars
4/12/04 Sirus its good to know that somone has the guts to write what they feel and to express them selfs 5 stars
8/25/03 AT it's the carnivore version of SAFE. A masterpiece. 5 stars
8/10/03 Natasha Jones The worst movie I have ever seen!! I regret not walking out! 1 stars
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  DVD: 20-Apr-2004



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