a film by Gerardo Vera
1999 | 100 mins | Spain
›› Second Skin - Segunda Piel
the emotional turmoil of a bisexual man.
Second Skin by Gerardo Vera Themes of love, trust and betrayal feature heavily in this compelling sexual drama from Spanish director Gerardo Vera.

And it all centres around aeronautical engineer Alberto García; the perfect example of a family man, seemingly devoted to his beautiful wife Elena and their son Adrián. Only behind all the pretend smiles, lies the reality of a passionless relationship and a non-existent sex life. Only for whom? Given Elena soon has cause to suspect that her husband is having an affair. Yet in confronting the issue head-on, little does she realise that Alberto’s intense desire is not for another woman, but for his male lover Diego.

Second Skin by Gerardo Vera Based on an idea by Vera, writer Ángeles González Sinde has crafted a meaningful variant on the classic love triangle scenario, one that vividly showcases the emotional turmoil of a bisexual man torn apart by his love for his wife, child and the hunky surgeon he equally adores. To that end, Jordi Mollà as Alberto delivers the essence of a man on the edge of a relationship meltdown, even if the outcome of his character is all but telegraphed well in advance. Backed by telling performances from Ariadna Gil as his wife and Javier Bardem as his openly gay lover, this well-executed work charts the repercussions of an affair and in particular the self-loathing of a man tired of playing the dutiful role; be it the son, the husband, the father.

Complete with a John Barry inspired score that perfectly compliments the lush x-ray styled opening credits, Vera delivers the goods in a feature rich in the spectrum of human emotion. That you could well be left wondering what either party sees in a man whose life is but a web of lies, unable as he is to be at ease with his sexual self, is the backbone of a film that is not shy when it comes to depicting scenes of an intimate nature, sequences that resulted with many an eyebrow being raised given the cinematic status of its lead players and here cue Jordi Mollà of Bad Boys II credit and Javier Bardem of No Country for Old Men fame, for which he won the Academy® Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

Yes it gets increasingly melodramatic as it progresses, but it also remains a remarkably direct reaction piece to a man emotionally crippled by the expectations that have been placed upon him, resulting with home truths being far from what he is telling his wife, his lover or even himself. To they own self be true, indeed.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - sexually intimate. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 
UK General Release 02.Feb.2001
screened as part of the 14th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2000
available on DVD as part of the New Yorker Video catalogue
starring: Javier Bardem / Diego, Jordi Mollà / Alberto, Ariadna Gil / Elena, Cecilia Roth / Eva,
Mercedes Sampietro / María Elena, Javier Albalá / Rafael
and Adrián Sac as Adrián, their son.
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #353
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