A rhapsody in pink and purple pastels, Eduardo Casanova’s episodic debut Pieles doesn’t quite have the smarts to match its looks.
Pretty in Pinkby Mark Wilshin
CAUTION: Here be spoilers
Produced by Alex de la Iglesia, and featuring a cast list borrowed from The Bar, including Secun de la Rosa, Carmen Machi and Joaquín Climent, Eduardo Casanova’s feature debut Pieles offers us a glimpse into a strange world indeed. Its interiors explode with pastel pinks and purples, and its inhabitants are freaks – from Laura (Macarena Gómez) the eyeless sex slave and her dwarvish madam to Samantha (Ana Polvorosa) whose anatomical orifices find themselves the wrong way round, Cristian (Eloi Costa) the 17-year-old boy who wants to be a mermaid, Ana (Candela Peña) with a lopsided face, Guille (Jon Kortajarena), a man whose skin is scarred with burns, and Vanesa (Ana María Ayala), suffering from achondroplasia, pregnant and working as a pink bear for a TV show.
Beyond its visual pizzazz and anus-mouth jokes, Pieles doesn’t have a huge amount to say. It examines the dependency its heroes have on their parents, their isolation and reluctance to go out into the world. There’s a pride – in the shape of Ana, who refuses plastic surgery and goes out onto her pink street in defiance. And there are also some sideswipes at Spain, its flag consistently jolted or left to tumble to the ground. But despite a brief speech on the tyranny of beauty, Pieles seems to work against its own concept by making freaks of its heroes, living in a fairground fantasia of purple and pink. And with Guille played by male model and actor Jon Kortajarena, there’s a suggestion, as he reveals his bandages, that beauty is a value that isn’t only skin deep.
Pieles is now showing at the 67th Berlin Film Festival