The Man Who Sold His Skin


The Man Who Sold His Skin


Sam Ali, a young sensitive and impulsive Syrian, left his country for Lebanon to escape the war. To be able to travel to Europe and live with the love of his life, he accepts to have his back tattooed by one of by the World’s most sulfurous contemporary artist. Turning his own body into a prestigious piece of art, Sam will however come to realize that his decision might actually mean anything but freedom.

Original Title The Man Who Sold His Skin
German Title The Man Who Sold His Skin
French Title L'Homme qui a vendu sa peau
Other Titles The Man Who Sold His Skin
Directed by Kaouther Ben Hania
Country Tunisia
Available Formats Blu-ray, DCP
Screenplay Kaouther Ben Hania
Film Editing Marie-Hélène Dozo
Soundtrack Amin Bouhafa
Cinematography Christopher Aoun
Sound Anders Billing
Décors Sophie Abdelke
Costumes Randa Khedher
Production Tanit Films (Nadim Cheikhrouha), Annabella Nezri
Runtime 104 Min.
Language Arabisch, Englisch, Französisch/d/f + i
Koen de Bouw Jeffrey Godefroi
Dea Liane Abeer
Yahya Mahayni Sam Ali
Monica Bellucci Soraya Waldy
Darina Al Joundi Sam's Mother
Saad Lostan Ziad
Jan Dahdoh Hazem
Marc de Panda Marc Sheen
Christian Vadim Attorney
Najoua Zouhair Schwester/Soeur

Academy Awards 2021
Nomination for Best International Film

Venezia 2020, Orizzonti:

Best Actor (Yahya Mahayni)
Edipo Re Award (Università degli Studi di Padova e ResInt Rete dell'Economia Sociale Internazionale)

El Gouna Film Festival
Best Arabic Film

Stockholm International Film Festival
Best Script Kaouther Ben Hania

Chichester International Film Festival

Cyprus Film Days International Festival

«Die eindrückliche Geschichte zeigt, wozu ein Mensch bereit sein kann, um seinen geliebten Partner wiederzusehen. Hauptdarsteller Yahya Mahayni bietet dabei eine schauspielerisch aussergewöhnliche Leistung. Er zeigt eindrücklich, dass ein Mensch auch ausserhalb des Gefängnisses gefangen sein kann: zwischen seiner Heimat und der westlichen Welt. Gefangen aber auch zwischen der Kunst, der Dekadenz und seinem sehr einsamen Dasein. Ein wirklich toller Film.» outnow, Christoph Reiser

«The Man Who Sold His Skin reflektiert bildstark ein moralisches Dilemma, das keine einfachen Lösungen erlaubt. In ihrem zweiten langen Spielfilm erkundet Regisseurin Kaouther Ben Hania solche Fragen in ästhetisch ausgefeilten Sequenzen, die einen eigenen Sog entfalten.», Peter Gutting

«With The Man Who Sold His Skin, Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania crafts a biting art-world satire, turning a Syrian refugee’s quest to reunite with his lost love — and controversial decision to become a tattooed living canvas — into a slick, sublimely shot musing on freedom. Inspired by a real-life artwork, the writer-director’s follow-up to 2017’s Beauty And The Dogs segues from romance and dark comedy to drama and tragedy, determined to make a statement of its own.» Screen International

«A stimulating work that highlights important issues and once again confirms Ben Hania as a rising talent.» Variety

«A breezy watch, with an assured filmmaker gently steering it through a rough-around-the-edges tale.»

«Seine Geschichte gleicht einem Gruselfilm! Der Schweizer Tim Steiner hat sein Tattoo am Rücken verkauft – an den Hamburger Sammler Rik Reinking. Seitdem tourt er als einziges lebendes Kunstwerk der Welt durch die Museen.» Hamburger Morgenpost


«This project is born from the encounter between two worlds. The world of contemporary art, and more particularly the work of the Belgian artist Wim Delvoye (Tim, 2006) and the world of political refugees—especially Syrian refugees, their struggle with travel documents and residency permits... I have indeed asked myself: “What would happen if... a famous artist offered to a refugee to become his work of art to solve his freedom of movement problem?” Thus, was born the journey of Sam Ali: a passionate young refugee thrown into a cynical world. An ordinary man facing an extraordinary adventure. The film is also a love story where the protagonist is separated from the woman he loves, and he tries to recover even if he has to lose his dignity and his skin in the process. Or what does it mean to be free when the game is already rigged, when you don’t have much of a choice? The Man Who Sold His Skin is an allegory about one’s personal freedom in an inegalitarian system tackling broader meaning about our real-world issues.» Kaouther Ben Hania

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