This sampling of a few genres still is a thoughtful entry worthy of an Oscar not for Best International Feature. A Tunisian import makes its way beneath the surface.
Kaouther Ben Hania writes and helms The Man Who Sold His Skin which centers on a Syrian man Sam Ali who takes refuge in Lebanon to elude a pro-democracy uprising in Syria in the early 2010s.
Art apparently imitates life in this yarn (multilingual and fully subtitled) inspired by the events surrounding a Swiss-born Londoner and a controversial Belgian artist Wim Delvoye who has a cameo in what points to a pimply amusing interlude.
From the outset of a whitening bookending the filmmaking exudes quite the sense of hue, as well as light land shadow. A harsh reality ensues for Sam through assisted in his status by a distant law enforcement relative. His fleeing corresponds with a farewell to interpreter girlfriend Abeer (newcomer Dea Liane) fitted with a Syrian diplomat by her clan.
Sam will essentially become an artifact after a time jump when he’s toiling in a chicken factory, weaseling his way into art gallery buffet tables. A Faustian deal will be made with acclaimed artist Jeffrey Godefroy (Koen De Bouw) whose handler is Soraya, all blond hauteur by Italian actress Monica Bellucci (remember “Tears of the Sun”). The key is wanting Sam’s back to ink for payment and the visa to reach Abeer who’s relocated to Brussels.
So, a love story is incorporated into a cultural spoof like an intellectual thriller with the stipulations on the agreement with Godefroy leading to some notable scenes at an art collector soiree and an auction. An unguarded, uninhibited portrait by Yahya Mahayni as the man with t-shirts of his back and protests of his exploitation as the bottom line rears its ugly, profitable head does command much attention in what chases survival even freedom.
Ben Hania in The Man Who Sol His Skin finds much inspiration from Tim back in 2006-08 to periodic, piercing effect as it concerns the global refugee crisis. Sh gives it an ambitious white glove treatment through human rights and a cutthroat market as amenities are savored. Not as pungent in its dealing of the business like outfitted in The Square or Nocturnal Animals but convincing in the conviction evinced by Mahavni in the onerousness regarding sacrifice.