A Transcendence of Flesh – We Are The Flesh (Film Review)

This is a film that isn’t meant for the squeamish or for audiences that are going to be put off by the kind of explicit sex where you cannot tell if the actors are doing it for real, or if it’s just really well simulated. This film wasn’t made to adhere to any kind of stylistic or moral values the average movie may hold, We Are The Flesh is an uncompromising hellscape of depravity that the filmmakers will not hold back.

The setting is never clearly defined – at least not until the end – what you will come to understand is that there is a deranged madman by himself in a derelict building. Two siblings break in and decide to stay with this man, but things swiftly corrupt as the madman coerces the sister into fantasizing about his brother eventually committing incest with him, a brother who ends up becoming a cuckold slave by the end of the film. As I’ve mentioned the sexuality is so raw you cannot tell if it is done for real, and it’s so hard to imagine how the actors were able to compromise their physical boundaries in order to achieve the horrific mood of this film through the explicit sex and defecation (and blood).

We Are The Flesh Noé Hernández

The trio end up taping together a dome with cardboard, becoming a sort of papier-mâché stone cave where most of the film takes place, setting the stage for the fiery colours and debauched energy of the film. We Are The Flesh is an experiential film, there are so few details of the plot that I’ve already divulged, the rest of the film needs to be experienced to truly understand the heavy mood and viscera the film portrays. The dialogue is nothing more than a cryptic puzzle, but my understanding of the film is this: Just as the film is pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable to put on film, the characters are attempting to push the boundaries of the flesh, seeking carnal pleasures that stretch far out of the scope of the physical body while simultaneously being trapped by it.

Noé Hernández who plays the madman Mariano is absolutely brilliant as this putrid toad of man who fouls the two siblings, and at one point slaughtering a soldier to eat him and drink his blood. I once wrote about the film The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover where I spoke about how the actors were pushing their limits to deliver a raw performance. This film pushes the envelope way further than The Cook, The Thief ever did in terms of performances, María Evoli who plays the sister invests herself in the role so much it is like seeing a possessed person who needs a demon to be exorcised from her body.

We Are The Flesh cave

If anybody were to see this, quite a lot of those people I think would walk out of the cinema and discredit the film based on the explicit sex and gore. Which I think would be a disservice to a film that is definitely pushing the envelope but for its own means and not considering the viewers feelings at all. The film ends very abruptly at such a short length that the most astounding part of the film for me was that it was ending before I felt it needed to. No questions of mine needed to be answered, but I was hoping for at least twenty more minutes to allow myself to be put at ease with the chaos on screen.

We Are The Flesh will be dismissed because people will think it’s being shocking for the sake of it and I couldn’t disagree more with that diminutive line of thinking. Even if you don’t get it (I certainly don’t think I get it), this is an important step of pushing what can and should be allowed on the screen, and the direction from the cast and crew is very clearly trying to distress you, and they get away with it.

4/5

Dir: Emiliano Rocha Minter
Scr: Emiliano Rocha Minter
Cast: Noé Hernández, Maria Evoli, Diego Gamaliel, Gabino Rodriguez, Maria Cid
Prd: Julio Chavezmontes, Moisés Cosío, Yann Gonzalez, Sebastian Hofmann, Natalia López, Emiliano Rocha Minter, Carlos Reygadas
DOP: Yollótl Alvarado
Music: Esteban Aldrete
Year: 2016
Run Time: 79 mins

We Are Flesh is screening at Horror Channel FrightFest on Monday 29th August and coming to UK cinemas later this year.