A Skin So Soft' ('Ta Peau Si Lisse'): Film Review

by - 11:12:00 AM


Denis Cote discreetly watches six Quebec musclemen in his most recent doc.

In the event that you think A Skin So Soft is a puzzlingly delicate name for a narrative about muscle heads, you're destined for success. Quebec's Denis Cote offers the counter Pumping Iron in this calm observational film, waiting in hint minutes with men who flex as a profession and (with maybe one exemption) discovering none of the alpha-male vitality we may anticipate. Like Michael Del Monte's ongoing fest section Transformer, which took after an expert muscle head's turning out as a trans lady, this doc looks for the helplessness in subjects who live in quest for press man standards huge numbers of us find absurd. It's a specialty workmanship house undertaking no doubt, yet a strangely enchanting one.

Having effectively influenced one motion picture about a periphery to wear (his Curling won honors at Locarno), Cote here wants to clarify the world his six characters occupy. It might be a while, truth be told, before we see that one isn't care for the others: Maxim Lemire is an expert wrestler and strongman who has developed the quality to drag a semi tractor over a parking area yet isn't keen on the cut-and-tore definition sought after by the others. (In a film without portrayal, titles or meetings, we just catch a few the six subjects' names in snapshots of discussion.)

The other five men go from a young who's simply setting out on the working out way — he measures his suppers on a scale, while his older folks appear to instinctively comprehend what they can eat — to men whose bodies are incredibly verbalized towers of muscle. For the photo's initial 20 or so minutes, we meet these men in close quiet as they travel through day by day customs. A gigantic uncovered man whose dark facial hair is as forcing as his body grooms himself for the day, at that point picks shoes from a wardrobe full floor-to-roof with tennis shoes; a shorter yet extremely expansive carried Asian man battles to take selfies in his carport after half-assedly taping his camera telephone to the roof.

Most fascinating is the man whose shaved head has pug-like wrinkles, who we meet as he's counseling with an anonymous female customer: He moves his hand quickly around her, contacting her daintily and testing the obstruction of her outstretched appendages. This gives off an impression of being a sort of body work that sets knead preparing with passionate treatment and New Age clairvoyant instinct. Afterward, we'll hear him allude to something he's doing as "Neuro Rehab Technique"; while that sounds like malarkey, his affectability and regard for his subjects is plainly helping out them.

The motion picture makes no undeniable endeavor to comprehend why these men have given their lives to working out, yet its midriff attends to a portion of the way of life's expenses. Proverb's significant other carefully tends to his "temperaments and stress"; the carport selfie-taker concedes he has brief period to go through with his baby child between excursions to the exercise center. (We additionally observe him cook a dinner for his family, at that point remain solitary in the kitchen and eat an entire steak before going along with them at the table for noodles.)

We don't exactly take after these men out into rivalry, yet the film tracks up to that point, watching a portion of the customs (the preparing and bronzing, the remaining before fans to let bronzer dry) that go before those events. At home and the exercise center, we look as stances are rehearsed and men endeavor the troublesome accomplishment of grinning as they flex energetically.

Ultimately, Cote conveys every one of the six men out to a nation house, apparently for no other explanation than to integrate the film. (Some appear to know each other officially; some don't.) Shirtless, they paddle over a lake and sun themselves in a glade. They strike postures for each other and strum guitar by a campfire. Avoiding whatever casual conversation they might've made with each other, the executive spotlights on tableaux that may fill in as the setup for a silly, peaceful porn film. Rather, he puts these men to rest alone in their own rooms, closing the entryway on them tenderly so they can wakeful invigorated and sparkling in the sunlight.

Creation organization: Art and Essai

Merchant: Breaking Glass Pictures

Executive screenwriter: Denis Cote

Makers: Joelle Bertossa, Denis Cote, Jeanne-Marie Poulain, Dounia Sichov

Executive of photography: Francois Messier-Rheault

Supervisor: Nicolas Roy

In French and English

94 minutes

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