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45 Ratings

A Skin So Soft

Ta peau si lisse

Directed by Denis Côté
Canada, Switzerland, 2017


Jean-François, Ronald, Alexis, Cédric, Benoit and Maxim are gladiators of modern times. From the strongman to the top-class bodybuilder, to the veteran who has become a trainer, they all share the same definition and obsession with overcoming their limitations.

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A Skin So Soft Directed by Denis Côté
There’s no apparent joy in these painful exertions, and the occasional signs of a wider life — practicing kinesiology, getting lost inside a virtual-reality headset — fail to banish the movie’s disconsolate monotony. Even a neatly arranged shoe closet looks heartbreaking.
July 05, 2018
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An arthouse ASMR video cobbled from heavy breaths, a dash of energy healing, and the tender sweeps of Côté’s camera over monstrously bulked flesh, this portrait of a half dozen Quebecois bodybuilders revives the thrilled gaze of the earliest actualities, the “cinema of attractions”—and here I’m not speculating: early-cinema images of strongmen play alongside the credits.
October 05, 2017
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Shooting in an observational manner familiar from such prior outings as Bestiaire and Joy of Man’s Desiring, Côté captures not only the tender side of these outsized musclemen but also their passion and artistry. A deceptively simple concept rendered with quietly illuminating care and precision, the film furthers Côté’s unique talent for locating beauty and humanity in the most unlikely places.
September 28, 2017
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