Skin of Glass
Beto Villares composed the score for Skin of Glass.
When she learns that squatters occupy the landmark São Paulo skyscraper her late father, Roger, designed in the early 1960s, Bay Area documentarian Denise Zmekhol returns to her hometown to investigate—and make peace with her dad’s memory. The Edifício Wilton Paes de Almeida, nicknamed the “Pele de Vidro” (Skin of Glass) for its windowed facade, was the first building of its kind in South America, a shiny symbol of Brazil’s promising future. Zmekhol recalls an idyllic childhood that would give way to eventual estrangement from the man whose innovative structure would become a dilapidated eyesore in a film that weaves together family photographs, archival material, testimonials from friends and colleagues, and impressive drone footage of the decaying high-rise. Not simply the story of a family and a building, the documentary also relates how the Skin of Glass has come to symbolize the escalating inequities of Brazil—the “Once and Future Country.”