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‘Cold Skin’ opens in theaters on Friday October 20

Adapted from the celebrated Catalan novel, ‘La pell freda’, the film addresses issues of “facing the unknown”


18 October 2017 07:45 PM


ACN | Barcelona

La pell freda, or Cold Skin in English, will bring chilling horror and old-world sci-fi to theaters in Catalonia from Friday October 20. The movie has already received a positive reception at international film festivals after it made its debut at September’s Étrange Film Festival in Paris. This month, it has made its way home to the Sitges Film Festival. La Pell Freda is, in fact, an adaptation of Catalan writer Albert Sánchez Piñol’s hit debut novel.

Us versus them

The plot follows a young former soldier who, trying to distance himself from the recently ended World War I, takes up work on a secluded island near the Antarctic Circle. Yet, when Frank arrives on the island he finds a deranged man is the only other inhabitant. Or so Frank thinks - until night falls. What follows is an ‘us versus them’ tale, a mix of action and horror shown through a war between monsters and humans. This is, according to starring actress Aura Garrido, an analogy for how we “face the unknown.”  

Garrido, who plays one of the creatures, stated that human beings approach what is alien “from a place of fear and mistrust,” which then leads to “violence.” She explained the value in taking the time to “listen, observe, and understand” that what is in front of us “may not be as different as we perceived it to be.”

  • "I think that the most important theme in the film is above all acceptance of others, and fear of others"

    Xavier Gens · Director of La pell freda

Acceptance, fear, and perception

Indeed, director Xavier Gens added that perhaps “the most important” theme is both “acceptance”, “fear” and “perception” of others, comparing the protagonist to a “foreigner” arriving in new lands. Other prominent subjects are, according to Gens, “communication, and how to live together.”

The director explains that “war is a big theme” in the book and that one of the characters “feeds off conflict,” without which he would cease to exist. This is a “metaphor for our society,” the director adds. “There’s still so much conflict,” he said, “because it generates profit, business, adrenaline and it satisfies the egos of those in power.” “In a way,” he concluded, “men destroy in order to exist.”

The dream of discovery

The novel was adapted for the big screen by Jesús Olmo and Fron Sheean, but the director took special care in “paying homage” to writer Albert Sánchez Piñol. The filmmaker said that he was “fascinated” by Piñol’s former profession as an anthropologist. “He would have liked, I think, to be Darwin,” the director reflected, referring to the idea of traveling to an island and discovering new species. Gens used this as an inspiration for his direction in La Pell Freda, which he sees as giving Piñol “his dream.”

A Lovecraftian tale in Catalonia

Albert Sánchez Piñol and his debut novel La pell freda already have quite a fan base. Published in 2002, the book won the Ojo Critico Narrativa, and the publication has been translated into 37 languages. The story has been compared to Robert Louis Stevenson, Joseph Conrad and H.P. Lovecraft.

The movie was filmed between the beaches of Cap de Ras of Llançà on the Costa Brava in Catalonia and the volcanoes of the Lanzarote Canary Island. Featuring actors David Oakes, Aura Garrido and Ray Stevenson, it was produced by Babieka Films, Babieka Entertainment and Skin Producciones AIE.



  • Frame from the movie Cold Skin, featuring actors David Oakes and Aura Garrido

  • Frame from the movie Cold Skin, featuring actors David Oakes and Aura Garrido