Posted on Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
Antonio Banderas and director Pedro Almodovar have made several movies together, but none since Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down in 1990. Now the pair are finally set to reunite in a film called La Piel que Habito (The Skin I Live In), which Almodovar calls “a terror film without screams or scares.”
THR pulled the director’s quotes from the Spanish paper El Pais, to which he also said “It’s difficult to define and although it comes close to the terror genre — something that appeals to me that I’ve never done — I won’t respect any of its rules. It’s the harshest film I’ve ever written and Banderas’ character is brutal.”
None of the rest of the cast has been announced — Banderas evidently started talking about the film in public before Almodovar wanted him to — but the director has said that recent muse Penelope Cruz will not appear.
The story is about “a plastic surgeon’s revenge on the man who raped his daughter,” which leads to quite a few ideas about how the film could come close to horror, and how Almodovar might make a ‘terror film without screams.’ The script is based on the late Thierry Jonquet‘s novel Tarantula, which sounds…wild. It isn’t difficult at all to see how this might be easily the most caustic film Almodovar has made.
I’d guess that quite a few changes have been made by Almodovar, but if you’re not familiar with the novel and don’t want to know too much, you might want to skip the following synopsis.
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Richard Lafargue is an eminent plastic surgeon haunted by dirty secrets. He has an operating theatre in the basement of his chateau and keeps his partner Eve imprisoned in her bedroom, a room he has equipped with an intercom and 300-watt speakers through which he bellows orders. Eve is only allowed out to be paraded at cocktail parties and on the last Sunday of each month, when the couple visit a young woman in a mental asylum. Following these outings, Lafargue humiliates Eve by forcing her to perform lewd sexual acts with strangers while he watches through a one-way mirror. In alternating chapters, Jonquet introduces seemingly unrelated characters – a criminal on the run after murdering a policeman, and an abducted young man who finds himself chained naked in a dark chamber, forced to endure all manner of physical torture at the hands of a mysterious stranger, whom he calls ‘Mygale’, after a type of tropical spider. All of these characters are caught in a deceitful web, doomed to meet their fate.