CINEMA AS SKIN

he-took-his-skin-off-for-me

Cinema can be seen as skin when it is an embodiment of a phenomenological enquiry, also when it is the confluence between inner and outer. The short film called He Took His Skin Off For Me is asking an ever-present question about love with the leading actor without skin. The main character – husband in this story, takes off his skin just because this is what his wife wants. The story itself is surreal, the husband can take his skin off by himself and still stay alive after that, one of the differences happen after he taking off his skin is people around him feel uncomfortable with his look except for his wife. Life of this couple does not seem to be changed a lot by the take-off skin, but the husband does suffer from the change of his appearance, and their financial situation is getting worse as well. The husband takes his skin off out of his love of his wife, so what will happen when life gets harder because of the take-off skin? The short film ends with the scene that the husband trying to help his wife to take off her skin, which seems to be the answer to the question.  With the take-off skin, the film is trying to exaggerate the phenomenon that people can do really crazy and insane things for love, at the same time it is asking how crazy people can really reach for love. The skin in this film not only talks about haptic experience but also psychological experience and philosophy.

Cinema as skin can also be intercultural disclosure. The usage of skin in Royal Tramp is combined with text, and the skin that is used is on soles, which is really uncommon in cinema. Siu-bo, the main character of the film, is a member of Heaven and Earth Society, which is a society aiming to re-establish Ming dynasty. Every member of Heaven and Earth Society is asked to stab the phrase  ‘rebelling against the Qing and re-establishing the Ming’ on their soles. In Chinese, it pronounces as ‘Fan Qing Fu Ming’, and Siu-bo did not stab the same phrase on his soles, what he stabbed is ‘Qing Ming Chong Yang’, which has two same words with the defined phrase but means entirely different, this phrase means two holidays when people need to sacrifice their ancestors. When Siu-bo is caught by the government of Qing dynasty, he was asked to take his shoes off to check whether there is ‘Fan Qing Fu Ming’ on his soles, so the government could know whether he is from Heaven and Earth Society or not. Fortunately that he did not stab the correct phrase, he survives from the interrogation. This film plays with body and text and explains the history and culture of Ming dynasty to people from other countries and culture backgrounds.

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The last film about skin that I want to talk about is Paprika, the skin in this film is the literal skin. One of the negative characters discloses the real identity of Paprika by dilacerating her skin and showing the body of Atsuko, so the audience finally knows that Paprika and Atsuko are the same person in this story.

paprika

Reference:

Baidu Tieba (2011) Available at: http://tieba.baidu.com/p/1157786910 (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

Ben Aston (2014) He Took His Skin Off For Me. Available at: https://vimeo.com/116498390 (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

Guan, S.Y. (2015) The News Lens. Available at: https://www.thenewslens.com/article/13213 (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

Paprika (2006) Directed by Satoshi Kon [Film]. Japan: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.

Royal Tramp (1992) Directed by Wong Jing [Film]. Hong Kong: Golden Harvest.

‘Tiandihui’ (2017) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiandihui (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

Visual Reference:

Ben Aston (2014) He Took His Skin Off For Me. Available at: https://vimeo.com/116498390 (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

Paprika (2006) Directed by Satoshi Kon [Film]. Japan: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.

Royal Tramp (1992) Directed by Wong Jing [Film]. Hong Kong: Golden Harvest.

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