Stars: Noé Hernández, María Evoli, Diego Gamaliel, Gabino Rodríguez, María Cid | Written and Directed by Emiliano Rocha Minter
“This is not your average party” hisses Mariano, the de facto protagonist-slash-antagonist of We Are The Flesh, the auspicious debut feature film from Mexican arthouse enfant terrible Emiliano Rocha Minter. Never has a truer phrase been spoken.
We are living in interesting times, make no mistake. There was a time where censorship in the UK had reached such fevered levels of absurdity that simply having the word “cannibal” in the title of your film was sufficient grounds for said film to be deemed obscene, banned and for anyone found peddling said smut to face potential fines and, potentially, imprisonment.
Thankfully, times have changed (for the most part) and that a film such as We Are The Flesh can now be released, fully uncut, by one of the world’s finest distribution companies, is nothing short of a wonder. Eschewing conventional narrative, We Are The Flesh centres on Mariano (Noé Hernández), an odd, scruffy hermit, who spends his days brewing weird oils and freaking out with a drum in an abandoned warehouse in what appears, at first glance, to be some post-apocalyptic future. His solitude is interrupted by the arrival of two lost, hungry siblings (María Evoli & Diego Gamaliel), whom he convinces to help him construct an odd cavernous structure of wood, cardboard and papier-mâché, in exchange for food and accommodation.
The reason? Well, as far as I can fathom, it has something to do with removal of the outside world and its corruptive effect on one’s freedom to truly live as one desires, free of the shackles of societal expectations of morality. Here, in this wretched, glowing, womblike lair, our characters are free to indulge their every whim, (and indulge they do) kowtowing to Mariano’s will, as he pupates from a dirty, hirsute Charles Manson-style leader, into a charismatic Messianic figure. The cast are all extremely game and have thrown themselves into Minter’s pornographic story with alarming zeal, no matter what madness is asked of them. Hernández, in particular, is extraordinary as Mariano, a grinning, lascivious madman, who commands the screen, even if much of what he is saying and doing makes little sense in context.
From the opening shot, through the numerous lingering shots of genitalia, a cool stereoscopic 3D sequence, to the final cannibalistic orgy, We Are The Flesh is not a film that concerned with your enjoyment or with whether you “get it.” Not in the slightest.
This is a pure and singular vision from a young director (Minter is still in his mid-20′s), perhaps not yet mature enough to fully handle what he is putting on screen, but yet doing so with wild abandon and giddy aplomb. It gleefully discards ideas of taboo and revels in its numerous perversions in a joyous way, with a sly side-eye and its tongue in its cheek, but in an occasionally childish way, that lets it down at times.
Ultimately and admirably, Minter doesn’t give a fuck what you, me or anyone else thinks.
We Are The Flesh is as bold a debut as you are likely to see, one that assaults the senses and leaves them reeling, for better or worse. Will you enjoy it? Maybe not. Did I? Not really. It’s not half as clever as it thinks it is, makes little sense and skirts with puerility a little too often for the piece as a whole to ever be taken all that seriously. It’s an interesting, visually arresting cinematic experience, and one that I’m certainly glad exists.
We Are The Flesh begins it US theatrical rollout on January 13th. The film is released on DVD and Blu-ray – in the UK – on February 13th, courtesy of Arrow Video.