Canadian filmmaker Denis Côté holds up a shallow mirror to the world of bodybuilding in the underwhelming experimental documentary A Skin So Soft, a dialogue-light portrait of six professional Canadian weight lifters who perform a variety of exercise routines, including hoisting barbells and hauling tractor tires.
Côté (Vic + Flo Saw a Bear, Bestiaire) stresses the self-conscious nature of his mountainous — and, within the film, never explicitly named — subjects by focusing on how much they flex, pump, and preen for their partners, family members, and competitors. Unfortunately, viewers unacquainted with weight lifting probably won’t learn much about Côté’s musclemen or their sport just by watching them fuss over their appearances: Ronald Yang takes a series of selfies from a high angle by dangling his phone from a rope tied to his garage ceiling; Alexis Légaré practices showing off his muscles — pectorals, side chest, back muscles, etc. — with his unnamed girlfriend; and Benoit Lapierre meekly explains to a photographer that he doesn’t like to smile in vanity shots since he dislikes the way his teeth look when framed by his Rasputin-like chest-length beard.
A Skin So Soft
Directed by Denis Côté
Opens July 6, Anthology Archives
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