In My Skin  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In My Skin (French: Dans ma peau) is a 2002 New French Extremity film written by, directed by, and starring Marina de Van. It details the downward mental spiral of Esther, a woman (played by Marina de Van) who engages in increasingly destructive acts of self-mutilation following an accident that injures her leg at a party.

Plot

"In My Skin" tells the story of Esther (Marina de Van) who seems to have it all. She has a great job, an active social life and an adoring boyfriend.

One night, whilst attending a house party with colleagues, she hurts her leg in the backyard on some industrial supplies. Alone when it happens, she doesn't even realize she has been hurt until much later, briefly inspecting the damage in an upstairs bathroom. She leaves the party for more drinks with friends.

She visits a doctor (played by Van's real-life brother, Adrian de Van) afterwards, who patches her up and wonders why she didn't feel anything until much later. Esther wonders too, but seems unconcerned about any cosmetic damage. He asks her jokingly, "Are you sure it's your leg?"

The next day, Esther, in the bath, is fascinated by the folds of skin around her thigh. Her Boyfriend Vincent (Laurent Lucas) finds out about her injury after walking in on her taking off her dressings. He is concerned as to why she didn't feel anything until later too and even decides to test if she can feel anything by lightly touching her arm when she is not looking. She reacts to it normally, but they soon begin to fight before making up quickly.

At work, Esther is asked by a supervisor (Thibault de Montalembert) to correct a mistake she made. In the middle of typing she runs to a filing closet, finds a random piece of metal and proceeds to cut herself further. Esther then goes to her friend Sandrine (Lea Drucker) and asks her to come have a break but Sandrine declines. Esther reveals candidly that she has just cut herself before laughing it off. Sandrine is concerned and asks Esther to stay over at her place for the night.

At Sandrine's house Esther has a shower and Sandrine, coming in to deliver Esther's clean clothes, sees the extra cuts Esther made to her leg. Sandrine is shocked. Esther is again indifferent to her loved-ones concerns. Later they talk about work, Sandrine is fed-up with work and wants to move up in the company they both belong to.

The next day, Sandrine and Esther attend a work function at a pool. Esther tells Sandrine she has just been promoted. Sandrine tries to act happy for Esther, but is obviously jealous. Esther later tells her boyfriend about Sandrine's jealousy but he just gets angry about the extra injuries to her leg. She asks him to stop questioning her about it. He reluctantly complies and they talk about moving in together.

Esther attends a dinner with her supervisor and some prestigious clients. She stays very quiet throughout the meal and soon loses control of her left arm. The arm moves around, messing up her plate of food and then, when she seems to have regained control, it detaches completely from her body. She begins to stab at it with her steak-knife. The others notice how silent and uncomfortable she is and she excuses herself from the table, with the knife.

She checks herself into a hotel across the road and proceeds to cut and chew at her hands and thighs, leaving big bite marks. She crashes her car in the woods to explain her injuries. Vincent meets her in the ambulance, inspecting her cuts and seeming suspicious.

Later, at her home, Vincent talks to her lovingly, telling her she will heal and talking about places they can move into together. Her supervisor at work, however, is not so forgiving and berates her for her behavior at the dinner.

Esther heads off to work the next day but becomes disorientated whilst walking through a busy shopping-strip. She stops to buy some supplies, including a camera and a new knife. She goes to another hotel room and begins to cut away at her flesh again. Including, in a very defiant act of self-mutilation, her face.

The next morning she goes to a pharmacist to ask how she might preserve a piece of her skin that she claims was cut out during surgery. The pharmacist, while seeming fairly perplexed, tells her to try to tan the skin.

Back at the hotel room, she calls her work, apologizing for her unexplained absence. She also calls her boyfriend and leaves a message telling him she won't be home that night.

In the morning she wakes up, gets dressed and inspects her piece of skin. It has gone hard and shriveled. She places it sadly and lovingly in her bra. She quickly leaves the room. But then a subsequent shot shows her, still lying on the bed, staring vacantly into the camera. The shot fades to black.

Cast




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "In My Skin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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