We Are The Flesh (Movie Review)

We Are The Flesh (Movie Review)
4 10

PLOT: In a dark and dreary future on Earth, a pair of Mexican siblings are confined to an abandoned building and forced by a perverted loon to have sex with each other.

REVIEW: Three years after trying his hand at the short-run film form, Mexican writer/director Emiliano Rocha Minter is back with WE ARE THE FLESH - an equally gaunt and fallow first feature that feels more like a single set, triple handed one-act play. Which, if the script were superbly written, would be perfectly fine. Alas, Minter has mounted in THE FLESH a debasingly depraved, idiotically incestuous fever dream of a movie that has no real story points or plot turns to speak of. Some have extolled the visual splendor of the movie as truly artistic, while other have irately stormed out of their respective screenings due to the show's graphic carnality. Surely meant to poke, prod, provoke and shock, in trying to explore and exploit the last real sexual taboos to be depicted onscreen - incest, necrophilia and the like - whatever catharsis we're supposed to feel never comes across as at all that earned or even erotically transcendent. The whole thing feels too contrived. Honestly, it plays more like a poncy and ponderous pseudo-pornographic art film!

Maria (Maria Evoli) and Mariano (Now Hernandez) are two squatting young Mexican siblings desperate for shelter in a harsh and cataclysmic future Earth. As the film opens, they're taken in by a maniacally grinning, lecherous sleaze-ball (Diego Gamaliel) who demands certain amenities, shall we say, in exchange for providing refuge. Confined to a dark and cold warehouse that the three continue to bolster with makeshift reinforcements, likely to thwart inclement weather and dangerous interlopers alike, the horny housekeeper begins pontificating on societal mores of sexual perversion. He drones on to Mariano that he, given the erosion of law and order in the wake of whatever unspoken disaster has left society in ruin, should sexually advance upon his own sister. Of course, the kid rightfully resists. That is, until threats are made. The Pervert, as he should now be disaffectionately referred to as, forces the brother and sister to engage in a torrid coital affair.

What transpires is sure to garner a NC-17 or X-rating. In what can only be read as an attempt to outrage, we get extremely pornographic depictions of the two in action. We're talking POV fellatio, long static takes of both sets of genitals lying dormant, that kind of thing. There's even a stint where The Pervert hovers over the two, masturbates rabidly, arcs a loaf of semen before apparently permanently passing out. Yeah, dude beats off to death. His corpse disappears, then reappears, none of which makes a ton of sense. In fact, nothing in this so called story adds up, instead what we get is one prolonged, experiential fever dream, a nightmare really, that is meant to elicit a certain feeling than an intellectual thought. Problem is, we're given absolutely no back-story about the characters, which disallows for any knowledge about them or their motivations. We don't even know what happened that left the world in such decay. Granted, over-exposition can be the death of a movie, but here we need at least a modicum of pathos to cling to in order to at all care about Maria and Mariano. Since we don't get it, only pity can be felt.

The strangest thing, despite how deplorably disgusting the subject matter is and how one-dimensionally delineated the script reads, is how sharp the visual design of the flick presents itself. That is, Minter has taken a directorial style - cold, distant, obdurate - that perfectly mirrors the material. It seems so easy, so obvious, but rarely do filmmakers achieve this. There's a dark, dank and dreary depression...a distance we can feel behind the camera that aptly marries to what we're seeing in front of the lens. For instance, as the film progresses, the set design slowly begins to resemble a warmer, womblike environment meant to represent the evolved interplay between characters. This is the only unassailable strong suit of the flick, and in terms of purely the visual, WE ARE THE FLESH should serve as a calling card of sorts that proves Minter can indeed shoot a movie. Perhaps he ought to solicit a writer whose talents equal his own behind the camera, for the script he wrote himself here is something an amateur first-time filmmaker should never essay. The story is almost entirely nonexistent.

In sum, if for whatever reason you crave pervertedly unadulterated pseudo-shock cinema, WE ARE THE FLESH might be for you. However, this is no SALO or CALIGULA. This by contrast feels far too contrived, far too intent on wildly awing or repulsing the crowd rather than telling a compellingly cogent story that uses such shock-tactics as a means to an end. Sure the visual display is impressive, especially when shot on a $400,000 budget, but the aesthetic can only take the film so far. In the end, this is little more than a taboo-ridden porno flick masquerading under the guise of a profound art film. It has no real statement to make, no genuine catharsis to be expressed, and really has a sense that it was made merely to bandy some sort of controversial buzz in order to call attention to the writer/director. Remember A SERBIAN FILM? This feels like the younger, underdeveloped cousin of that one. As for movies suffixed with WE ARE...WE ARE THE FLESH falls somewhere between WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS and WE ARE STILL HERE. One thing is certain though, We Are not better off by having this movie in the world.

Extra Tidbit: WE ARE THE FLESH hits select theaters Friday, January 13th.
Source: AITH



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