Dans Ma Peau (In My Skin)

The latest French provocation

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Although it’s unlikely to be anyone’s idea of a fun night at the movies, Marina de Van’s debut follows through on its twisted premise with clarity and courage. de Van, who cut her teeth as a writer and actor for Francois Ozon, plays Esther, a young woman who accidentally gashes her leg and subsequently becomes obsessed with her wound. It’s not long before she’s opening up new sutures?presented in explicit, head-for-the-exit close-ups-and exploring the limits of her own flesh in ways that become increasingly sexualised. Tough as it is to summon laughter, de Van isn’t above playing some of this for black comedy; a scene in a restaurant where one of Esther’s limbs takes on a life of its own brings the film’s mind-body split subtext to the surface while playing as ingenious, queasy farce. Those brave enough to peek at this compelling skin-crawler from between their fingers will recognise the influence of early Cronenberg and Ferrara’s The Addiction. Otherwise, this is out there on its own-strange, scarred, beautiful.


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