© eksystent/S. Lehnert Filmdispo

Der Mann, der seine Haut verkaufte (The Man Who Sold His Skin)
France/Tunisia/German/Belgium/Sweden/Turkey 2020

Opening 24 Feb 2022

Directed by: Kaouther Ben Hania
Writing credits: Kaouther Ben Hania
Principal actors: Yahya Mahayni, Dea Liane, Koen De Bouw, Monica Bellucci, Saad Lostan

Heading home on the train, Sam Ali (Yahya Mahayni), a young sensitive Syrian who’s deeply in love with Abeer (Dea Liane), announces to all passengers that he will marry her. Unfortunately, he also carelessly shouts that he is a revolutionary and wants his freedom. Naturally, he’s immediately blacklisted and flees to neighboring Lebanon, leaving the love of his life behind at the Belgian consulate general in Syria. In Lebanon he meets Jeffrey Godefroi (Koen De Bouw), who makes an offer he can’t refuse. He agrees to sell his own back to be tattooed by the world’s most controversial contemporary artist, thus becoming an object d'art – not a human – to be transported all over Europe. A transformation with startling consequences, and Sam Ali at last realizes how much he has lost. Mahayni’s subtle performance conveys Sam’s feelings of desperation, debasement, and, finally, the courage to find a way out. The film explores in-depth questions regarding our own views and values of our society

The film was inspired by the controversial contemporary Belgian artist, Wim Delvoye, who initially shocked the art community by tattooing live pigs, then going a step further by tattooing a man who, in turn, becomes a living art object, Tim (2006). The debate turned controversial when Tim was put up for auction and sold to the German curator and collector, Rik Reinking, for €150,000. A complicated situation that enraged many people, with topics such as human rights, slavery, and prostitution all becoming a part of the conversation. Truly one of the most brilliant and provocative films that I have seen in a very long time. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)

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