14 Oct 20176:15 pm | Cinema 1 |
BFI Film Festival: 243 features. 67 countries. 15 cinemas. 12 days. One Festival.
Sculpted bodies, bulging muscles and oiled skin stretched to breaking point: this is a tender and enigmatic insight into the daily life and rituals of six bodybuilders.
French-Canadian enfant terrible Denis Côté (Bestiares, 2012) composes a compelling exploration of bodybuilding, far away from the flashy competitions, artificial glamour and images that conventionally represent this body-sculpting art. They’re replaced by an intimate, quietly watchful and almost wordless approach, as Côté reveals how these modern gladiators live their everyday lives. They’re either at home with their families, carrying out mundane activities, or preparing to compete – observing a strict and punitive routine in order to achieve 'the body perfect'.
This slow burning, mesmerising film is touched by moments of grace, when we glimpse behind the masks and see the vulnerability of these musclemen. It’s an unusual and deeply human take on addiction and body obsession.
(Notes by Laure Bonville)
A Skin So Soft, dir. Denis Côté, Canada-Switzerland-France 2017, 94min