Circe by Madeline Miller (♦♦♦♦)

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Granddaughter of Oceanus, daughter of Titan Helios and sea nymph Perseid, Circe was different from the start. While her siblings discovered their unique gifts very early on and gained their independence—either by claiming their inheritance, like Perses and Aëstes, or by marriage to a wealthy demigod, like Pasiphäe—, Circe remained among her family in the halls of the gods. Her love for young fisherman Glaucus changed everything. Circe used a potion to transform Glaucus into a worthy suitor. Glaucus, seeing his station changed, fell in love with one Circe’s cousins, a sea nymph named Scylla. Out of jealousy, Circe put a potion on Scylla’s bath and, unintendedly, transformed her into a monster. Circe’s confession forced Helios to go to see Zeus, for witchcraft is something that gods fear can tip the balance of power. Zeus declared an eternal banishment for Circe from the halls of the gods to the island of Aiaia.

Exile was not easy but, as Circe learned, it had its advantages; being away f…

The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito) (♦♦♦♦)

Marked by the tragic deaths of his wife Gal and his daughter Norma, Robert Ledgard, a plastic surgeon, begins to experiment transplanting transgenic skin to Vera, a patient he keeps secluded in his house. The genesis of his experimentation and the patient herself, predate but are very much intertwined with Norma’s death.

In this suspenseful thriller, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar has outdone himself. The movie keeps the themes of sexual preferences and transgender issues—so common in his previous works—to a minimum. In this film, however, the constants are marital betrayal, revenge and the use of scientific inventions for personal gain.

Despite being filmed in interiors almost in its entirety, the movie doesn’t feel claustrophobic, but surprisingly intimate. As audience, we don’t know at all times where the story is going, but we take the plunge just the same with astounding results. The conclusion of the film will resonate with you.

Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya and Marisa Paredes give superb, unforgettable performances.

Not to be missed! This movie will be a powerful contender in the foreign films category at next year’s Oscar ceremony.

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