What would it take to convince somebody to become a living canvas for a tattoo artwork? For Syrian refugee Sam Ali it is the promise of being reunited with the woman he loves in this modern Faustian tale, which is the most biting art-world satire since The Square.
Exiled and heartbroken, Sam agrees to have a copy of the European Schengen visa tattooed on his back. He believes this will be his ticket to freedom and fortune, once he fulfils his contractual obligations of appearing in art galleries. After a series of misadventures that start to strip away his sense of identity, he begins to grasp the extent of the irreversible decision he has made.
The premise of the film was inspired by Wim Delvoye’s 2008 art-work ‘Tim’, which consists of tattooed man Tim Steiner sitting in galleries around the world and can currently be seen at MONA. The Man Who Sold His Skin premiered at the 2020 Venice Film Festival where it won the Horizons Best Actor award for Yahya Mahayni’s performance as Sam in this provocative film about doing whatever it takes to be with the one you love.