Blue Skin

Director: Andrea Schuler and Oliver Ruts

2004. English subtitles. Colour. 90 mins.

A prize-winner at the last Berlin Film Festival, this feature documentary provides a fascinating portrait of three elderly men devoted to the art of tattooing. Herbert Hoffman is a successful entrepreneur living in the Swiss mountains. Karlmann Richter is the scion of one of Northern Germany’s wealthiest families. And Albert Comelissen is a sailor. All three gentlemen are around ninety years of age, and they have been friends for many years. They are nice, polite and well-to-do—and their bodies are covered with tattoos. They hail from a time when tattoos were stigmas. All three lived unconventional lives. In 1961, Herbert opened up Germany’s very ?rst of?cial tattoo parlour. Kartmann left his bourgeois marriage to live as an open homosexual, while Albert took his family on a tour of the country in his tattoo-mobile. In Blue Sky they tell of how they became friends and why their friendship has broken up. First time directors Andrea Schuler and Oliver Ruts use these compelling stories to provide a tragi-comic account of one of the most bizarrely beautiful addictions.

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