We live in an era of self-indulgent storytelling, where anyone with a camera, some editing software, and a soundtrack can post endless streams about themselves. But in the case of “The Skin I’m In” – thank the Kwaginlth spirits for it.
There is nothing subtle about “The Skin I’m In,” and that is exactly why you must see it. It is a creative, triumphant piece of documentary filmmaking on a singular subject: the life (so far) of Broderick Fox, an unknown US filmmaker, who shows us his world in an unflinching manner. He’s a son-Eagle Scout-valedictorian-Ph.D. -professor-filmmaker-club kid-drag queen-hustler-hair stylist-alcoholic, and unbelievably, that isn’t even the whole story.
In 2005, he was found unconscious on some Berlin subway tracks with his head split open and a lethal blood alcohol level of 0.47. This incident launches his tale of recovery, in part by contracting a Northwest Coast Kwaginlth (Canadian) First-Nation artist Rande Cook, to create a full back tattoo for him. The process of getting the tat, skillfully applied by Los Angeles artist Zulu (who himself is a fabulous character), is interwoven with Fox’s tale of personal demon-fighting on the course of unveiling his own acceptance of mind, body, and spirit.
Make no mistake: Fox is obsessive, ADHD, abusive, clever, smart, and likeable because he gives it all to us. Gory detail after crazy event is unspooled before our eyes, and like good voyeurs we gobble it up breathlessly awaiting the next barking mad beat that, in his rendering, becomes completely normal. IMBD calls it “penetrating but disarming candor,” and I suspect that is exactly the draw. His story is accessible to all because it embraces every last terrifying and fun aspect of one man’s journey.
As a multi-hyphenate myself: BS-MA-MS-Ph.D.-primatologist-scientist-screenwriter-poet-novelist-comic book shop owner-snowboarder-home chef (and I suspect a litany of other –‘s), I totally got behind what Broderick was doing with his tale. It made perfect sense to me, it was not a freak show, and it validated my own multiple personality. And the multiplicity doesn’t end with the story—he’s the writer-director-cinematographer-editor-producer as well. This is a documentary that will be talked about!
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“The Skin I’m In” is playing at CCA on 7 December @ 7.30 PM
Written by Omar Hamid
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