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No Skin Off My Ass (1991)

5.6
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A lonely hairdresser watches the title sequence of "That Cold Day in the Park" then visits a local park to invite a down-and-out skinhead to his apartment. He draws the silent man a bath ... See full summary »

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Title: No Skin Off My Ass (1991)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Bruce La Bruce ...
The Hairdresser
G.B. Jones
Caroline Azar
Laurel Purvis
Kate Ashley
Nicholas Davies
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jena von Brucker
Klaus von Buecker ...
The Skinhead
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Storyline

A lonely hairdresser watches the title sequence of "That Cold Day in the Park" then visits a local park to invite a down-and-out skinhead to his apartment. He draws the silent man a bath and talks to him as he soaks. He locks his guest in a bedroom. Next day, the skinhead leaves through the window and visits his sister, who's making a film called "Sisters of the SLA." He helps with a screen-test. The hairdresser has dreams and fantasies involving the skinhead, the skinhead returns to visit him, and then the filmmaker pays a call on the two men, exposing her brother as faking his silence and pretending a lack of sexual interest. Fantasies can come true. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

being a fag is a definite plus

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

8 November 1991 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Singer and songwriter Kurt Cobain declared it his favorite film. See more »

Connections

References The Sound of Music (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

The search of meaning in Bruce La Bruce's film
10 August 2010 | by (Peru) – See all my reviews

What happens when a hairdresser gets obsessed with a skinhead? The very notion of his work is mocked by a style that requires no hair. And what does the hairdresser want from him? Is it simple companionship, sexual intercourse or something else, something much more difficult to obtain? Bruce La Bruce relies heavily on images to tell a story that focuses mainly on undefined desire. Through constant narrative disruptions and a somehow erratic storytelling, the meaning of "No Skin off my Ass" becomes diffused and blurry. Perhaps, it's La Bruce's postmodernist approach to cinematography and thus a story devoid of meaning is appropriate for our times. Perhaps, as literary critic Roland Barthes would have demanded, meaning can only be found in the readers or spectators. Every one has to work with the elements presented in the film to build their own story, the meaning does not come from the creator but from the interpreter, from the viewer.

There are, however, certain themes that are exploited since the beginning. Fetishism is one of them. The obsession of the hairdresser towards skinheads comes from the clothes they wear and especially their boots. Footwear has always been one of the main fetishes in classic psychoanalytic theory. Freud, for example, used to say that all women desired the man's penis (he was no feminist, of course). A woman was somehow incomplete because of the lack of penis. Other authors have stated that foot fetishism starts at a very early age: A child, any child, is playing in the floor and raises his head to look at his mother, looking through the mother's skirt, he realizes she does not have a penis, and therefore she is incomplete. And the young boy suffers as he stumbles upon this discovery. And he suffers so much for it that he wishes to fill that void, to replace that lack of penis with something else, hence he looks down to the floor again and he stares at her mother's shoes, and unconsciously he turns those shoes into the penis, thus replacing the absence with something else. The shoes could be seen as a symbolic penis; Lacan, for example, would later re-elaborate the theory explaining that the high heel shoes function as the mother's phallus, a phallus which has been previously denied by the father.

It would be interesting, however, to contrast these definitions with homosexual desire. What are shoes for a gay man? Are they necessary the mother's lost phallus? There is a very erotic fixation on the skinhead boots, and as the film progresses we understand that fetishism can take many forms.

Another interesting character is the skinhead's sister. She plans to make a movie about women, much in the same way that Luce Irigaray envisions feminist literature in "Speculum of the Other Woman". It's all about bodies, whether the female body trying to attain a certain supremacy or independency, or the male body removing itself from the classic Lacanian masculine position.

Although the exploration of the body is very valuable, there are moments in which there is no pathos, moments that one as a spectator would deem necessary. The ending is not as subversive as the rest of the film, perhaps it's too conclusive in a story that should have been left open and free to be interpreted and reinterpreted by the viewers. The meaning of text, after all, as Barthes would have wanted, does not depend on the author but on the reader. And in Bruce La Bruce's production this task falls heavily on the spectator.


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