The Reflecting Skin

      This overlooked GEM, the directorial debut of Philip Ridley, has for reasons not clearly understood–slipped into much UN-deserved anonymity.

      Update: "The Reflecting Skin" made the cover story of the March 2016 edition of Rue Morgue magazine (Specifically, March 2016. As there was only 1 (!) copy in stock (as of 5/21/17 Sunday), I decided to link the cover art.)—further tribute, to an extraordinary film.

      Amoung other things, the cinamatography of this film is . . . STUNNINGDays of Heaven class, I believe.


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      I do have a very serious warning, though—this is a VERY adult film.  I don't mean "adult"–as in, pornographic (Although, one does get to see (a young) Viggo Mortensen's butt.  It didn't do anything for ME, but. . . .  And, I suppose, there is a scene of Lindsay Duncan's character, um, "missing" her ex-husband.  –Strangely enough, I didn't remember this from the first watching.   Perchance because it was so surreal. . . .)–but this is a VERY mature film, which is odd—as it is essentially about, and captures exquisitely, childhood.  Real, childhood—like one rarely experiences, outside of "Calvin and Hobbes"–type childhood.

      Whilst ostensibly occuring in rural Idaho (in reality, filmed in Alberta, Canada), The Sea is a recurring motif. . . .

      Mike LOVES the Sea. . . .

      The film is a visual FEAST—more a sequence of exquisite paintings, than a movie, at times.

      And the capturing of "the horror of childhood"—meeting head-on a horrific world, with frankness, imagination, and innocence.  I'm going to say: Unparalleled, in my viewing experience.  (An honorable mention does go to Cameron Menzies' 1953 Invaders from Mars, though.  :) ;) )

      Subsequently to the original posting of this page, I have come across a film called "Tideland."  Tideland also, exquisitely captures childhood.  (Filmed in Regina, Saskatchewan—what is it, about these "childhood films," shot on the prairies of Canada?  :) ;) ) I have to warn you though, that film is–also (perhaps "more so")–a VERY tough pill to swallow.  From wikipedia:

Gilliam has also said that Michael Palin, another former member of Monty Python, had told him that the film was either the best thing he had ever done, or the worst—although Palin himself couldn't quite decide either way.

      I couldn't agree more [with the above].

      I find it AMAZING—that this [The Reflecting Skin] is this director's first attempt.  (Peeps can–and HAVE–spent their lives, trying to produce a picture of this quality.  (!!))

      A Note on Availability:

      When I first saw this film (in something akin to, totally unexpected, stunned AWE), it was on a wal-fart crap transfer.  Most serious seekers, previously had to settle for an "English-friendly Japanese transfer."  However just recently (as of 10/23/14), Barnes 'n Noble has released this on DVD—and CHEAP.  :) :) (The perpetual cynic in me, believes that there was a far more economic motivation (an observed plethora of 'Web searches for the title, by devoted cinephiles like me)—than an artisitic one.  :p ;) )

      Some Links:

      This one REALLY captures the horror:

. . . [There is] Also a bit about the title. . . .

      Also. . . .

(Which also has a bit on the title)

      Some interesting trivia. . . . (I LOVE it—that one of my FAVORITE living directors, is SOO popular, that one can, freely, use the term "Lynchian.")

      :) ;)

      This next one is MUCH darker, and harder on the film. . . .

      And I wanted to make sure to mention. . . .

. . . And at the end, in the comments: "My son"?? (!!)

      Perhaps the best one:

      Why I love frog-blood splattered Lindsay Duncan in The Reflecting Skin

      Philip Ridley's fairytale for the disenfranchised is a gothic masterpiece with a dreamlike quality and a nightmarish narrative

      There are many reasons to love Philip Ridley's stunningly beautiful film—The Reflecting Skin, a gothic masterpiece that is often strangely overlooked.

"Like a Flannery O'Connor story adapted by David Lynch, with Terrence Malick shooting second unit, the film has a dreamlike quality that softens the nightmarish narrative. Indeed, Ridley places the story a definite second to the visuals, creating painterly images that at once seduce and unnerve. A former art student, the East End-based director has said in interviews that the film was inspired by a series of his own paintings of an imagined, mythical American landscape. The black Cadillac that cruises into the town like a shadow passing across the sun, its occupants enticing away Seth's young friends one by one, first appeared in the background of these paintings."

      The Guardian RuLz.

      And another great one:

      (A quote from the above:)

"The Reflecting Skin is a wonderful film but also an awfully depressing one. This is a bleak vision of the world. A world of horror that children need shepherded through but no one is willing to do so. They have to find their own way through but they're not nearly prepared to do so. The way they make sense of things they are scared of creates even more confusion and fear. There are many creepy and disturbing moments but some of the scariest stuff is just how awful people can be. Ridley's script is strange but thoughtful, the cinematography is grand and beautiful, and for the most part the performances are brilliant. Other than the slightly melodramatic ending it is a really amazing film. There's so much to chew over and I have barely scratched the surface. Like the films of David Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky or even Ben Wheatley, this film feels so specific in regards to where it came from. This is the only Phillip Ridley film I have seen but it is so very unique to him. It's a dreamlike trip through childhood that begins with the tunnel at the end of the light. Seth's life was at its peak at a dark place and it only spirals down from there."

      A quote from the above:

"The Reflecting Skin is a grim movie, one that charts the death of innocence as an inevitable but sad rite of passage. The movie is dark in a real way (not a faux, Hollywood way,) immensely powerful in emotional terms . . . and once you've seen it–I promise you–you'll never, ever forget it. . . ."

      Some time later, I found another [site]—with more info:

      And probably totally inappropriate, for a site (and film) of such gravitas, but. . . .

      The first time I saw this, I couldn't help it: At the very end, I said, "Now THERE'S a kid that needs more fiber!"

      :P ;)