In My Skin2002
In My Skin (French: Dans ma peau) is a 2002 New French Extremity horror film written by, directed by, and starring Marina de Van. It details the downward mental spiral of Esther, a woman (played by de Van) who engages in increasingly destructive acts of self-mutilation following an accident that injures her leg at a party.
Esther (Marina de Van) seems to have it all: a great job, an active social life and an adoring boyfriend. One night, whilst attending a house party with colleagues, Esther hurts her leg in the backyard on some industrial supplies. Alone when it happens, she doesn't even realize she has been hurt until much later, briefly inspecting the injury in an upstairs bathroom. After the party, Esther visits a doctor (Adrian de Van) who patches her up and wonders why she didn't initially feel the injury. Esther wonders too, but seems unconcerned about any cosmetic damage. He asks her jokingly, "Are you sure it's your leg?"
The next day, while taking a bath, Esther becomes fascinated by the folds of skin around her thigh. Her boyfriend, Vincent (Laurent Lucas), finds out about her injury and also becomes concerned about how she didn't feel the injury. Vincent decides to test if Esther can feel anything by lightly touching her arm when she is not looking. She reacts to it normally, but they soon begin to fight before making up quickly.
At work, Esther impulsively runs into a filing closet and proceeds to cut herself further with a random piece of metal. Esther then asks her friend Sandrine (Léa Drucker) to come have a break, but Sandrine declines. Esther reveals candidly that she has just cut herself before laughing it off. Sandrine asks Esther to stay over at her place for the night. There, as Esther is taking a shower, Sandrine sees the extra cuts Esther made to her leg. Esther is indifferent to Sandrine's concerns. Later, when they talk about work, Sandrine expresses a desire to move up in the company where they work.
The next day, Esther informs Sandrine she has just been promoted. Esther later tells Vincent about Sandrine's jealousy, but he is more upset about the new injuries to her leg. Esther asks him to stop questioning her about it. He reluctantly complies and they talk about moving in together. Later, Esther attends a dinner with her supervisor and some important clients. During the meal, Esther's arm moves of its own accord and eventually detaches itself from her body. She begins to stab at it with her steak-knife. Esther soon excuses herself from the table with the knife.
Esther checks herself into a hotel across the road and proceeds to cut and chew at her hands and thighs, leaving large bite marks. She crashes her car in the woods to explain her injuries. Vincent meets her in the ambulance, inspecting her cuts and become suspicious. Later, at home, Vincent talks to Esther about places they can move into together after she heals. Meanwhile, her supervisor berates her for her behavior at the dinner. While walking to work the next day, Esther purchases a camera and a new knife. She goes to another hotel and begins to cut at her flesh again, including her face.
Esther inquires to a pharmacist about preserving a piece of her skin that she claims was cut out during surgery. Back at her hotel room, she calls her work to apologize for her unexplained absence. She also leaves a phone message for Vincent telling him she won't be home that night. The next morning, she wakes up, gets dressed and inspects the now-shriveled piece of skin. Esther places it in her bra and quickly leaves the room. However, a subsequent shot shows Esther still lying on the bed, staring vacantly into the camera. The shot fades to black.
Critical reception for In My Skin was positive. The film holds a rating of 68 on Metacritic based on 18 reviews. The movie also holds a rating of 63% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 41 reviews.
Stephen Holden of The New York Times called it "As unrelenting an exploration of isolation and dissociation as Roman Polanski's "Repulsion.""
In 2022, the film played at Fantasia International Film Festival to mark its 20th anniversary. The same year, the Museum of Modern Art showed it as part of its Messaging the Monstrous: Body Horror film series.
In promotion of In My Skin screening at MoMA, Screen Slate critic Elizabeth Horkley wrote of the its contemporary relevance: "Far from a product of Munchausen’s syndrome, Esther’s need to self harm seems to stem from a desire to be the sole caretaker—and decision maker—for her body. The parallels to issues of bodily autonomy are explicit."
|Regie:||Marina de Van|
|Drehbuch:||Marina de Van|
|Darsteller:||Adrien de Van|
|Marina de Van|
|Thibault de Montalembert|
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Fantasia Film Festival
Best International Film
Village Voice Film Poll
Best First Feature