JAMIE BELL in ‘Skin.’ (Courtesy).
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Skin, a powerful drama by Israeli director Guy Nattiv about an American skinhead who renounces violence, drew an enthusiastic response from the audience when it was screened as part of the Panorama section of the Berlinale, the Berlin Film Festival.
A shorter version of this film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film.
Jamie Bell, who starred in Billy Elliot and Defiance, is virtually unrecognizable as Bryon, a skinhead covered by tattoos, who eventually sees the error of his white nationalist ways. Bryon is surprised and dismayed to discover that the painful process of getting the tattoos removed from his body mirrors the difficulty of breaking away from his violent, racist group.
But Bell isn’t the only well-known actor in the film. Danielle Macdonald, who was recently seen in Bird Box, co-stars as a young single mother who helps the hero turn his life around. Mike Colter, best known for playing drug kingpin Lemond Bishop on The Good Wife, portrays a black activist who encourages Bryon to break with the haters and forms a lifelong friendship with him. Vera Farmiga who starred in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed and opposite George Clooney in Up in the Air, plays Bryon’s manipulative adopted mother.
Although there are still several more days left of the festival, some who attended the early screenings of Skin were predicting that it could win the coveted Panorama Audience Award.
Far Right protest
Berlin police said that earlier this week they were investigating claims by members of the far-right Alternative for Germany party (AFD) that an attack following a screening at the Berlinale of Roberta Grossman’s film, Who Will Write Our History, a documentary about the Warsaw Ghetto, was politically motivated.
Members of the AFD were invited to see the Holocaust documentary for free by Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick earlier this year.
“The event was planned by the Berlinale from the outset with special security measures and in close consultation with the police. There was heightened security by the festival and by the police, both at the cinema and around the cinema. The Berlinale categorically condemns violence and works for peaceful coexistence,” a statement by the festival’s press office said.