“The Skin of the Wolf” Is Beneath Just Barely a Man

The Skin of the Wolf or Bajo la Piel de Lobo (a Netflix international release) as its Spanish title implies, tries to get under the skin of a unnamed man living a lupine life in the Spanish Pyrenees.

His existence consists of hunting, tanning, eating, with occasional visits to town to sell his pelts, have beastie sex with a local unnamed woman, all while terrorizing her father about his unpaid debt to him. It is so bare bones that the first bit of dialogue doesn’t happen until seventeen minutes in.

A dark allegorical aura hangs over everything. The man is given a wife who dies with child, then demands another who resents his beastliness. A grim, quiet almost folkloric struggle ensues.

There is no explanation, no backstory just observation enshrouded in mythic layers of beautiful cinematography. Everything is left to interpretation, which is both besides the point and probably is the point.

Debut director Samu Fuentes is only interested in establishing the archetype. The frustrated viewer is left to decide whether it is art, trash or somewhere in between.

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