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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Review-A Skin so soft - Quotes

Some quotes from the director Denis Côté:
“This is a film about six men with a passion,” when speaking about his intimate look into the lives of professional bodybuilders with A SKIN SO SOFT. His respect for their dedication is obvious, despite his observations on how they must continually work to survive their choice.
“All are extremely shy. People with extreme passion are very weird, extremely stubborn.”
“It’s hiding something.”
“Onstage: superhero, offstage: children.”
“It takes seconds for them to fall in love with each other,” describing the first film meeting.
“(He) watches motivational videos, crying in front of the computer while eating… The guys are total dedication…Three years ago he was always drunk, ” on how seriously all food intake is controlle,”  Côte refers to a bodybuilder at the breakfast table with headphones, laptop, eating a brown mass that looks predigested.

When speaking, Côté epitomizes the “direct” in his director title with his often startling comments.
“He tried to call himself a doctor on his Facebook…got into trouble (then became) a spiritual kinesiologist … hydrogen …,” describing Benoit’s counselling of fellow bodybuilders.
“I knew it (the film) could be a freak show.”
“Your idea of what a man is, is an anachronism…I will just go along with it.”
“Women bodybuilders, same as men,” when asked why no women.

Director Denis Côté pointedly stated, “This is not a documentary.” It was the “the director’s idea” that Benoit model for an art class. As for the final scene when the muscular men chase a mob of sheep over a hill, “The last act is total fiction…I saw some sheep and remembered someone told me sheep will come when you have carrots.” (Was he thinking of horses?). But the unexpected result passed his criteria for the final scene, also for the strict budget and time limit. The film was made for $45,000, with a three person film crew and only three days filming for each bodybuilder!

Thomas Edison’s 1894 sepia films of “the father of modern bodybuilding” German Eugene Sandow grace the credits. From the Library of Congress: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZYu3qsxkOo. More entertaining: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKhx_owLK7E

Films by this young Canadian director have been on the roster of FFHH for years. In 2009, Carcasses (about a car cemetery) was nominated in Cannes for the C.I.C.A. E. Award (International Confederation of Art Houses) You can read “Behind Carcasses Charm” by Mary Nyiri Wienke in the 2009 FFHH folder on www.kinocritics.com. At that festival, Mary also moderated the question session for Côtè! (Nancy Tilitz)

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