The Man Who Sold His Skin

2020 [ARABIC]


IMDb Rating 7.1 10 627

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 15, 2021 at 03:25 PM


Monica Bellucci as Soraya Waldy
953.48 MB
English 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 43 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ferguson-6 7 / 10

skin in the game of love

Greetings again from the darkness. Lao Tzu wrote, "Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength, while loving someone gives you courage." But to what extreme would you go for true love, and how far is too far? Writer-director Kaouther Ben Hania offers an early scene on a commuter train as Sam Ali and Abeer flirt and tease to the point that he publically, and loudly, proclaims his love for her. Unfortunately for him, his outburst occurs in Syria, where human rights are always in peril. In fact, this love story is burdened with the weight of human rights, individual choices, and the power of art.

Ms. Ben Hania bookends her film with a choreographed art installation coated in a blizzard of white walls and white gloves. It's 2011, when a distant relative in law enforcement assists Sam Ali (Yahya Mahayni) with his (quite creative) escape from Syria to Lebanon - after a painful slap of reality accompanies Sam's goodbye to his beloved Abeer (Dea Liane in her first screen credit). As Sam flees for his life, Abeer is pressured by her family into an arranged marriage.

We then flash forward one year to find Sam working in a Beirut chicken factory. He scrounges for food at the buffet of local art galleries until one day he is spotted by Soraya (a blond Monica Bellucci), the agent for acclaimed artist Jeffrey Godefroy (Koen De Bouw). When Sam and Godefroy meet, the artist tells him that art is "alive" and, more precisely, "I want your back". A Faustian deal is cut. Godefroy turns Sam Ali into a living piece of art by tattooing his back, and Sam gets the travel visa he desperately needs to reunite with Abeer.

With Sam basically a commodity (there are even T-shirts of his back in the gift shop), there are protests to his being exploited - this despite Sam enjoying the nice hotels, room service, and promise of the visa. Of course, as with any commodity, it's only a matter of time before the almighty dollar comes into play, and soon Sam is auctioned off to a collector. Subtle humor has a role throughout much of the film, and Mr. Mahayni is quite believable as a Syrian refugee sacrificing for love. Ms. Ben Hania's film is inspired by "Tim", an original artwork tattoo by Wim Delvoye sold to a collector in 2008. Mr. Delvoye, a controversial Belgian artist, even makes a brief appearance here as an insurance agent. This is a thought-provoking love story, survival tale, and commentary on the bent side of the art world. When is a man truly free? We don't typically think of Tunisia as a hotbed for cinema, but this film deserves attention.

Reviewed by AhmedSpielberg99 6 / 10


Let's just keep in mind that this movie isn't the type of a satirical work that is meant to tackle its subject matter by probing it or offering a deeper understanding of the whole situation and, definitely, not to reach a resolution. It's rather more akin to a cautionary tale, or one that shines a spotlight on the social and political situations and what they entail, exposing the superficiality of them all by explicitly reflecting it on a seemingly unrelated surface, which is here art. Excuse my ignorance of the term that would spare me all that rambling. I just wanted to remind some people (myself included) who can easily mistake this for being too on-the-nose that it's actually intentionally so, the thing that could be clearly noticed through its self-awareness of its pretentiousness, and I couldn't imagine a more competent way to mirror that than espousing art.

The Man Who Sold His Skin revolves around a highly provocative subject of a Syrian refugee, Sam Ali, in Beirut who accepts a deal offered to him by a contemporary artist, Jeffrey Godefroi, to have his back turned into a living work of art in order to travel to Belgium. As a contemporary take on a Faustian deal, the movie truly shines. It's true this story is about a man who sells his skin (hence his identity) to the artist, Jeffrey, (he even mentioned that he sees himself as Mephistopheles) in return for "freedom," but here the protagonist is marked by a pronounced stigma, namely the Visa tattooed on his back, "this work of art bears the signature of the devil," said Mr. Waltz and his wife justifying the reason why they bought Sam. He became a flesh-and-blood example of the exploitation Syrian refugees, although he willingly became one, mainly to live with the love of his life, Abeer. That leads us to the main complaint I have with this movie: the love story, or rather the drama surrounds it.

The movie quickly makes us abandon any thought the story would be heavy on its prickly themes of human trafficking, exploitation and the commodification of people, declaring out loud it's a love story through and through. But here is the thing, the romantic dramedy elements here are too pedestrian and the characterizations severely lacking in nuance to keep me invested. Consequently, the movie drags quite often. The story also tries to stir a few emotional chords by the end, trying as hard as it can to bring out more of its potential to be a reflective drama. Suffice it to say, it falls flat on the emotional punch. What really bogged this movie down is its dense caustic encapsulation, which although it lends the social commentary the edge it needed, it definitely does seem completely discordant with both the dramatic and the romantic aspects, hindering the heart and levity from seeping out of the surface.

As art takes the centre stage, the cinematography doesn't skimp on its artistic ambitions. First movie that popped into my head watching the stunning, garish visuals in the scenes set in the gallery is Velvet Buzzsaw (Dan Gilroy's latest effort, also centred around art,) but instead of only serving its sole purpose of giving a hazardous sense, here it surpasses that by expressing the inner feelings of the characters. The compositions, in particular, that involved two or more characters resulted in some of the best shots I've seen in any movie from last year; they are truly eloquent when it comes to juxtaposing the characters' emotions and thoughts.


Reviewed by atractiveeyes 10 / 10

A Masterpiece

The Man Who Sold His Skin is Tunisia's official submission to the Oscars and was shortlisted. It's just a masterpiece. It's original, smart, different and powerful. Kawthar Ben Hania did an amazing job in writing and directing this movie, she's really a genius. The story is brilliant and tackles many interesting topics and a humane cause, and also delivers an important message. All of that portrayed so nicely in an artsy way that gives the movie a very awesome special atmosphere. The Man Who Sold His Skin is my favorite foreign-language film from last year and one of my favorite movies ever. See it whenever you get the chance to.

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