The Man Who Sold His Skin is a dark comedy about the many and strange routes that can be taken in the quest for a residency permit.

Sami Ali is stuck in Beirut, having fled the war in Syria. The love of his life, Abeer, has married in order to escape Damascus and now lives in Belgium. Sami’s wish is to win her back, but so far, his plans are thwarted by the simple fact that he is ineligible for a Schengen-visa. His luck seems to turn, however, when he meets Jeffrey Godefroi – an artist considered the crème de la crème by the world’s cultural elite. He promises Sami a visa, on the condition that he donates his back as a canvas for one of Jeffrey’s new pieces – a giant tattoo of a Schengen-visa. No matter the object, the touch of Jeffrey’s hand can turn it into a most sought-after art piece, and Sami’s back will be no exception – in return, Jeffrey promises to split profits with Sami. Naturally, Sami will need to make himself available for museums and galleries when requested. Sami agrees and watches all border controls melt away as he is now a piece of art free to travel. However, whether this actually means an increase in freedom remains to be seen.

Director Kaouther Ben Hania entertainingly mocks the Western artworld’s liberty to revel in human suffering, and points out how lives and fates are decided by the privilege of being able to travel where you need – or by the lack thereof.

Gjermund Granlund

The Man Who Sold His Skin was recently shortlisted (and later nominated) for an Academy Award, and this affects our screening rights to the film. Unfortunately, it will not be available for digital screenings, but we will schedule cinema screenings of the film as soon as the cinemas in Oslo reopen.


Kaouther Ben Hania (b. 1977) studied film in Tunisia and Paris at La Fémis and the Sorbonne. Her film Beauty and the Dogs was Tunisia's candidate for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards and was screened at Arab Film Days in 2018. She also directed The Man Who Sold His Skin, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2020 and was nominated for an Oscar the following year. Her most recent film, Four Daughters, had its premiere in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

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Original title 'L'Homme qui a vendu sa peau

Country Tunisia, France, Belgium, Germany, Sweden

Year 2020

Director Kaouther Ben Hania

Screenplay Kaouther Ben Hania

Cinematography Christopher Aoun

Producer Martin Hampel, Thanassis Karathanos, Annabella Nezri, Andreas Rocksén, Anthony Muir

Cast Yahya Mahayni, Dea Liane, Monica Bellucci, Koen De Bouw

Production Company Cinétéléfilms, Tanit Films

Distribution Another World Entertainment

Runtime 1h 44m

Language English, Arabic, French

Subtitles Norwegian

Genre Drama, Comedy

Age limit 9

Links IMDb

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