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Skins is a film of contradictions”

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Eduardo Casanova • Director

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- BERLIN 2017: Eduardo Casanova unveils his first feature film, the impressively gutsy Skins, at one of the most prestigious of all the international film festivals

Eduardo Casanova • Director
(© Lorenzo Pascasio)

Skins [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Eduardo Casanova
film profile
]
, the first film from the precociously talented actor-turned-director Eduardo Casanova (25), has been presented to audiences (and the world) in the Panorama section at the 67th Berlinale. Its protagonists include a woman with a disfigured face, another with no eyes and a third with an anus where her mouth should be. Cineuropa meets Spain’s answer to Xavier Dolan.

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Cineuropa: Were you surprised to be selected for Berlin?
Eduardo Casanova: Even in the days right before the festival started, I still couldn’t believe it — I thought I must be dreaming. I wrote it when I was 23, filmed it when I was 24 and it was shown for the first time when I was 25. It’s a very personal film, out of the ordinary and tricky to make in Spain, because it’s about people who are different. To be part of a competition like the Berlinale, which brings me visibility and helps me communicate something that affects me personally, and gives me the chance to reach so many people, is incredible to me.

How did you get to know Álex de la Iglesia, who produced Skins for you?
I worked with him eight years ago on As Luck Would Have It [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Álex de la Iglesia
interview: Álex de la Iglesia
film profile
]
, in which I played Salma Hayek’s goth son. We got on really well together — Alex and I have a lot of interests and influences in common. At the time when I was shooting my short film Eat My Shit, which worked out really well and ended up going viral, I was also writing stories about people with deformities and people who were physically different. I was really keen to try directing, and Alex asked if I was planning on making a full-length film, because he and Carolina Bang, his wife and partner in Pokeepsie Films, would be interested in producing it. I told them about Skins and together with Kiko Martínez they got it off the ground. I don’t know how they did it, so I am hugely grateful to them for making me the happiest person in the world today.

Is Skins the film that you wanted to make at the beginning?
I worked with complete freedom. I think Skins is a film that people really need to see, although that might sound self-important and arrogant. It’s a film that unsettles you; it makes you ask questions. Above all, I’d love it to be shown in schools — it’s about people who are different, made by people who are different, but it’s aimed at those who find it difficult to look at that difference, because seeing the film will help them become more open-minded about the world and that will make them happier. All I want is for all of us to be happier.

Where does this film come from: your heart, your guts, your brain — or your anus?
Yeah, you could say it comes from all four, but in any case, it’s somewhere deep inside. The film addresses things that are genuine obsessions for me, and contains questions that I ask myself but cannot answer. It also reflects my overwhelming need to sugar-coat everything that disturbs me.

Have you always felt like you were different?
People have always told me that I’m very intense: I feel everything a bit too deeply. I have felt like an outsider a lot of the time: at school, in television and in film.

And do you feel Spanish?
I love Spain; it’s an amazing country, with a very distinct identity that I think needs to be preserved. My feelings about Spain are full of contradictions — it’s a country that’s both remarkably modern and extremely ancient, exquisite in aesthetic terms, and it has a strength of passion that can be wonderful but that can also be harmful sometimes. I think that we Spaniards are contradictory by nature: in the film, you can see that in the way the characters experience love, hate and desire. Skins is a film of contradictions; it even contradicts itself.

(Translated from Spanish)

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