Here’s my million-dollar proclamation for Fantasia 2016 – We Are The Flesh will be the most talked-about film of the festival. Some patrons will exit their screening aroused by ethereal pornography that doubles as social commentary. Others will walk out while filmmaker Emiliano Rocha Minter smashes the stylings of Michel Gondry and Lars Von Trier together in a NFSW (not safe for anywhere, really) apocalyptic orgy. I mean, “WTF” is going on here – or, more appropriately, “WaTF.”
Minter leaves EVERYTHING up to interpretation. Maybe it’s a commentary on primitive associations between our civilized lifestyles and deeply-rooted depravity that we keep stashed away? Maybe it’s a dangerous religious portrayal of the second coming of Christ? Maybe it’s simply about a crazy homeless guy, forced incest, brainwashing and sex addiction? I DON’T KNOW.
If you’re coming here for an explanation, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. Every We Are The Flesh analysis will be different, but like I said, EVERYONE is going to be talking about this film – for better or worse. I think I’m on the positive side. I don’t know? We’ll see how my words flow…
Diego Gamaliel and María Evoli star as a brother/sister duo seeking refuge from the world outside. Unfortunately, the siblings only find more chaos after meeting up with a homeless man (insanely played by Noé Hernández) who lives inside an abandoned building. It’s not long before the crazed hermit has them constructing a cardboard cave of sorts – and that’s only where this psycho-sexual tale of exposed over-eroticism BEGINS.
It’s from here where everything gets pretty fuckin’ weird. Like, weirder than Noé Hernández pounding on a marching-band drum while stomping around his desolate home. Stranger than a sister trying to sneak-kiss her brother. Infinitely more unsettling than a close-up shot of said sister performing fellatio her brother while Hernández masturbates and sings a song about being a lost romantic.
Wait, did I say “infinitely more disturbing” than that? Yes. Yes I fucking did. And I’m sorry for cursing, but there’s a lot of images bouncing around in my head right now, and I still can’t process what in the absolute fuck just happened.
We Are The Flesh has no definition, yet speaks loudly through explicit sex scenes that are never filmed in mirroring ways. Open-ended ramblings from Noé Hernández remind of “THE END IS NIGH” conspiracy theorists, yet each borderline-indistinguishable diatribe hypnotizes more than the last. No outburst cares to clue viewers in on the anarchistic madness unfolding on-screen, but Rocha Minter isn’t here to follow rules. That much is made plainly, emphatically obvious. You’ll have so much – if not too much – to digest as an unsuspecting viewer, shuffling through close-up shots of male/female genitals, cannibalistic gnashing and vaguely biblical hints at divine rebirth. Plus some necrophilia, expulsion of bodily fluids and sacrificial bloodletting for good measure.
Yet, as already stated, there’s something so irrefutably hypnotic about We Are The Flesh. Maybe that’s because of cinematographer Yollótl Alvarado, whose constant camera movement and spliced artistry frames the finished cardboard cavern as a devilish womb. Blues and reds shine through one glaring opening (like a uterus), as the colors blend together whenever the brother and sister engage in acts of intercourse (some of which are captured by a thermal camera).
Hands emerge from thick, tar-ish pools of black, colored in the same reds and blues. The camera twirls as characters fight animalistic urges to fuck, fight and love like free-willed humans without domestication – all scored to what could be described as Spanish indie rock (except for the Mexican national anthem). Despite aggressive, unflinching topical themes, Rocha Minter’s fever-dream is a gorgeous perversion of humanity and society’s damning confinement – not that I’m suggesting anything THIS drastic be enacted…
Or maybe we’re captivated by Noé Hernández, Diego Gamaliel and María Evoli – more so Hernández and Evoli. Hernández beats his drum like a cultist leader and says whatever comes to his mind – be it nonsense or detached poetics – and revels in being the craziest person amidst any crowd. This is a noteworthy feat compared to Evoli, who dives into her self-gratifying character while screaming and convulsing on cue – we’re talking shades of Carla Juri in Wetlands, but even more fearless considering how Evoli is naked for 75% of her scenes. Somehow, all the fleshy interlocking finds this Freudian complex that tingles with seductive enlightenment, like some real mind’s eye shit.
Or, just enjoy Hernández’s ear-to-ear smile after he poisons someone’s dinner meat, because there’s no scene that Hernández doesn’t fully own, or penetrate with his soulless gaze.
We Are The Flesh isn’t for everyone (SHOCKER). There will be no middle ground. Emiliano Rocha Minter makes a play for “Most Polarizing Filmmaker of 2016,” and he’s got a damn good shot at taking that title unanimously. This is dirty, abusive, sticky, heartfelt (?), enlightened (??), intellectual (???), deranged, offensive, damningly provocative filmmaking at its…most…unhinged?
But Rocha Minter doesn’t care to be “PC,” and knows dissenters won’t agree with his vision. They are not the intended audience. We Are The Flesh is a scintillatingly strange introspective about culture as a whole, even if some will only see two “children” humping like rabbits in heat (OPEN YOUR EYES, MAN!). Sit back, unlock your mind, and get ready for one hell of a mindfuck.
I'm not sure what the hell it all means, but I think I liked We Are The Flesh, and that kind of scares me.
We Are The Flesh Review [Fantasia 2016]