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ORIGINAL SKIN

In a dystopian reality where intercourse involves switching bodies with another person, a young woman named Bea (Sorcha Groundsell) must challenge the ideals of her conservative community that condemn this act of swapping. Defiance in the face of overwhelming odds is a tale as old as time, but what director Mdhamiri Á Nkemi achieves with his Tribeca short Original Skin, feels incredibly current and liberating.

We meet Bea, who is busy browsing a dating app in search of a match, only to have her activities interrupted and humiliated. A convent-like environment surrounds her, from which she finally gets a welcome break. Her sister (Fiona Forster) drives her to a party, where Bea links up with Lexi (Olive Gray). What follows is an evening of self-discovery and passion that bears great consequences for everyone involved.

Groundsell and Gray’s chemistry is a major highlight. Although they rarely exchange words, their eyes and faces reveal a wealth of information about their characters’ thoughts and emotions. One is seeking to break away from taboos instilled in her, while the other is a free spirit who has previously seen it all. The juxtaposition is stark, yet their rendezvous crackles with passion.

Conceptually brilliant, there are so many layers to the story to peel back and analyze. Filmmakers rarely give sexual activity such a unique and multifaceted aftereffect. In this alternate universe that Nkemi has crafted with writer Eve Hedderwick Turner, there are those who oppose this idea and those who embrace it, while others, like Bea, seem unsure about how to handle the fallout.

Visually speaking, the film is sublime. Soft, dreamy dance floors and tight closeups of bruised skin lend Original Skin a striking color palette, courtesy of cinematographer Adam Singodia. Fascinating images encapsulate the whole concept of body swapping, making it feel both trippy and intimate at the same time.

Mysterious, sensual, and thought-provoking, Original Skin is an LGBTQ+ short that transcends its genre with bold ideas about intimacy and identity.

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ORIGINAL SKIN

In a dystopian reality where intercourse involves switching bodies with another person, a young woman named Bea (Sorcha Groundsell) must challenge the ideals of her

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