Weird! Hard to grasp at first– yet beautifully shot. That is what comes to mind when I think about the 2012 short film Skin, directed by Jordana Spiro. My initial confusion was caused by the fact that I didn’t know what a taxidermist is, and that knowledge is essential to one’s understanding of the development of the film. Ben (Albert Flood), the main character, despite his young age (12 or 13), possesses some distinct skills.
It’s a film about first love, about a desire to bring a smile to the face of your beloved. Skin captivates the attention of its viewers predominately with its beautiful cinematography, with stunningly beautiful reflections in the water or making the forest leaves to somehow symbolize the unconscious within the main character’s soul.
Skin‘s character development relies on the carefully chosen settings: an abandoned pool, the surroundings of the house that Ben inhabits ,and its inner atmosphere. The camera tells the story in such a way that dialogue isn’t even needed and, in fact, is only sparingly used throughout the movie. Close ups, things like a falling tear or a smile, help the viewer to comprehend the inner world of the characters.
Although the movie may be a bit confusing at first, consecutive viewings really helped me to appreciate its story and the way that the director decided to present it. Initially shocked, I realized that the story is more touching and its basic idea could be applied to many of the interpersonal relationships in our daily lives. The Coming-of-Age value in the film comes from the life lessons that both the young character and his beloved girl learn as result of their actions or lack of same.
The film (and its characters) feels a bit weird at times but, at the same time, strikes one as a truly authentic account of growing up, which is why I don’t hesitate to recommend it.
Watch Jordana Spiro’s short film Skin below :