These four short films touch on our largest and arguably the most vital organ; human skin. Through these films we will discuss the birth of skin, the emotions of skin, the fragility of skin, and the science of skin.
Ab Ovo, directed by Anita Kwiatkowska- Naqvi, is a beautiful clay animation which centers on the woman’s capability of producing life. We revolve around a clay woman and watch the time-lapse of life from conception to childbirth. An eerie music box tings alongside what can only be described as the liquid sounds an embryo would hear; quite like being underwater. Here, we are positioned to feel like the embryo, but also like the mother; we feel small, safe, and carefree, but also maternal, scared and protective.
I love how the woman’s clay body shows signs of being molded by the artist’s fingers whilst molding a life of her own inside of her. The capability each woman holds of one day creating life is something truly incredible.
Peau (Skin), directed by Marine Koenig, is a wonderfully artistic story on our largest organ. We follow the life of Marine from a young girl to a young adult, as she shares her fascination of the human skin. ‘An event, a pain, a mark’ is a line repeated throughout the film. I feel this line is connected to the fact that our lives become etched into our skin. We can tell our age by how many lines crease our skin, we can actualize moments in time by tattooing our skin, we can see moments of pain in our skin by the scars scattered throughout. We can tell a lot by one’s skin; an event, a pain, a mark.
Sometimes, however, we don’t feel like we fit in our own skin, this is a common thread throughout Marine’s life and those of her loved ones. This film describes how our lives, choices and events are brought about from senses our skin provides; all feelings and thoughts of the human race are in fact inventions of the skin.
In Crystal Skin, directed by Michael O’Brien, we learn about the fragility of skin and just how important it is for us to be able to live a ‘normal’ life. We follow a young girl Maria, who suffers from a rare skin condition that affects the connective tissue; her skin is so fragile that even the most minor of friction causes blisters and tears. She is constantly covered in wounds that have to be tended to and bandaged everyday and has caused her fingers and toes to fuse together.
The Biology of Skin Color, directed by Rob Whittesey, is our final film, which is the science behind the skin. Here, we learn that the colour of our skin is in fact an act of natural selection and primarily linked to the amount of UV rays that are distributed across the world; the more UV rays, the more melanin, the more melanin, the darker the skin.
After watching all four of these short films it is quite apparent how skin in fact has had a huge role in the human race in not only it’s survival but in it’s society. We have let something like the colour of our skin define and separate us, but it has no correlation to our features, abilities or minds. We judge people on the age of their skin, whether it is wrinkled and sagging. We judge people on the marks of their skin and contemplate if tattooed people are dangerous or if scarred people are damaged. But mostly we judge people on the colour of their skin, and somehow have linked that justifying human suffering.
As a human race, we should be grateful for these scientific discoveries that have the power of shattering these stereotypes, but somehow these prejudices still occur. I hope, for our sake that this changes soon.
About the author
Megan, a young South African, recently left teaching English in South Korea and is now a travel enthusiast who is currently focusing on releasing an organic, vegan and zero-waste cosmetic brand. She is interested in exploring environmental changes and how that influences humankind. Her brand focuses on making as little waste as possible and tries to provide waste-free solutions for her customers. Megan is also a hand-poke tattoo artist in her spare time.