Some of my favorite films are small, intimate, inventive films that most people have probably never heard of and will probably never see. Independent films tend to make up for their lack of budget with extraordinary creativity and this week’s new release Comforting Skin is no exception.
Koffie (Victoria Bidwell) is a lonely woman who wants nothing more than to find a meaningful relationship. She has always felt like an outcast and had trouble fitting in. As she tries to pull her life together and start fresh, she finds herself one night outside of a tattoo parlor and spontaneously decides to get one to go along with her newfound confidence. Unfortunately Koffie’s life does not start improving despite her best efforts and she finds herself attempting to take her own life one night. But as she starts to pierce her skin with a blade, her new tattoo moves from her shoulder to her wrist and stops her. The tattoo slides and dances about her body and Koffie likes it. Soon she finds herself obsessed with the whispering tattoo builds her confidence but also alienates her from all facets of a normal life. Will Koffie find her own voice or will be forever be a slave to the living art pulsating on her flesh?
Comforting Skin is a film unlike I have ever seen before. Made in Canada with a miniscule budget, you would never know it from the sumptuous photography and fantastic performances. This is a haunting film that sticks with the viewer long after the film ends. There is much to relate to in Comforting Skin with its themes of alienation and not fitting in. Pretty much everybody has felt like Koffie at one time or another and Victoria Bidwell’s performance is a brave and intimate one. As the viewer we feel like we shouldn’t be witnessing certain parts of her life, yet it is this voyeuristic view that makes Comforting Skin work so well. We are present with Koffie as her life transforms and the tattoo takes over. And it is never confirmed directly if the tattoo is actually something supernatural or if Koffie has gone off the deep end, it is all left to be interpreted by the viewer. An exceptional thriller that must be experienced.
Available May 21, 2013 on DVD.