Home / World News / ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ Review: The Artwork Has Legs

‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ Review: The Artwork Has Legs

Art satire meets immigration drama in the Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania’s “The Man Who Sold His Skin.” Ben Hania repurposes a real-life chapter from the annals of the art world, when the Belgian artist Wim Delvoye tattooed the back of a man, and then sold it as art. What sounds like a recipe for trouble — what about the human who’s the canvas? — is exactly where the movie lives, spinning a prickly cautionary tale of exploitation and commodification.

Sam Ali (Yahya Mahayni) is jailed after declaring his love for Abeer (Dea Liane) on a train in Syria. Escaping to Lebanon, he crosses paths with a high-flying artiste, Jeffrey Godefroi (Koen De Bouw), who offers legal passage to Europe in exchange for conscripting Sam in an audacious project. That entails tattooing Sam’s back with a Schengen visa and showcasing him in museums. (Lending a plot assist as Jeffrey’s modish associate is Monica Bellucci.)

Sam keeps Skyping with Abeer, who’s now stuck in a parent-approved marriage to a diplomat, and their slender romantic thread pulls the story along through Sam’s sometimes clunky trials as a museum piece and luxury-hotel inmate. His feelings of being a perpetual outsider, valued for everything but his personhood, body forth the dehumanizing elements of some immigrant experience.

The lustrously shot movie breaks Sam out of the gallery grind through Hollywood-grade somersaults in storytelling (one of them so breezily violent as to feel a little tasteless). But the story evidently struck a chord, garnering an Academy Award nomination (like “The Square” before it) in the international feature category.

The Man Who Sold His Skin
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 44 minutes. In theaters. Please consult the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies inside theaters.

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Ex saw body in bath months before police

The former lover of Melbourne woman Sarah Gatt says she saw a dead body in …

%d bloggers like this: