Studio: Arrow Video
Director: Emiliano Rocha Minter
Writer: Emiliano Rocha Minter
Producer: Julio Chavezmontes, Moises Cosio, Emiliano Rocha Minter
Stars: Noe Hernandez, Maria Evoli, Diego Gamaliel, Jonathan Miralda, Andres Villalobos
A mysterious man dwelling in an abandoned building seduces two siblings into joining his descent through depraved madness.
Amid an unspecified apocalypse, Mariano survives alone in an abandoned building by subsisting on barrel-brewed gruel and banging a drum to drown out increasing insanity in his stir crazy mind. Then siblings Lucio and Fauna show up looking for shelter. Mariano’s uneasy scowl over newcomers in his nest quickly curls into a sinister smile when he sees that this brother and sister can fulfill not only his external needs, but his innermost desires of depraved deviltry.
In exchange for food, Mariano tasks the teens with converting the concrete into a cave. The more Lucio and Fauna come to depend on Mariano to provide, the deeper they swirl into the madness that begins manifesting in fractured fantasy form.
Mariano’s dwelling becomes a den of carnality as he compels Lucio and Fauna to become unlikely lovers for his personal pleasure. Witnessing the incest causes Mariano to drop dead. Yet that is but the beginning of how his nightmare consumes the cave. Mariano is soon to be reborn and with him he brings an orgasmic orgy of eerie eroticism that transforms everyone who connects with his Hellscape of flesh and blood.
That is the synopsis of “We Are the Flesh,” more or less, though that is not what the film is about. Filmmaker Emiliano Rocha Minter lays the foundation for a framework of narrative storytelling, but his movie is really a platform for launching a “shock and awe” assault designed to obliterate the senses with stylistic sleaze presented as confrontational sensuality.
“We Are the Flesh” is an artistically ambiguous visual nightmare based in interpretive themes of incest, rape, murder, and psychological torment. It makes “torture porn” seem tame. This is truly the closest thing there is to a triple-X rated horror film.
Some will consider “We Are the Flesh” daring while others will call it disgusting. I don’t have enough interest to invest the thought required for definitively deciding one way or the other, though I’m inclined to lean toward the latter based on evidence we’ll cover next. In the meantime, consider this a public service announcement meant to aid in assessing if the movie has value for your own personal preferences.
Imagery includes full frame shots of a limp cock and balls, an erect cock and balls, labia lips and an assh*le, a girl pissing on the floor after masturbating over a corpse, a sister menstruating into her brother’s mouth, and a blowjob that is either authentic or the most convincing simulation ever filmed.
“We Are the Flesh” is a Spanish film shot in Mexico by a twentysomething newcomer and his troupe of workshopping talent. It could be that my upbringing in Western culture, which conditions me to react to graphic depictions of ejaculation and sexual assault in specific ways, makes me unable to see the art or the entertainment in such material. Nevertheless, the question remains, is “We Are the Flesh” provocative or is it simply perverted?
As of this writing, “We Are the Flesh” has a bright green ranking on review aggregate Metacritic with no score lower than a noncommittal 50/100 and running as high as 80. “We Are the Flesh” also has a ‘Fresh’ 74% score on Rotten Tomatoes, yet only a 38% rating from viewers.
What this indicates is that while chin-stroking critics are seemingly seeing academic artistry in sensationalist salaciousness, the average audience is seeing right through the ruse. Director Emiliano Rocha Minter unintentionally confirms this idea via comments in an interview with Screen Anarchy. Regarding his film’s deeper meaning, Minter says, “I am not so sure about the social commentary.” Regarding the controversial ending, Minter mentions they improvised it in one take, as he assumed “in the last day of shooting the ending of the film was going to magical(ly) appear.”
Just as I suspected. Exquisitely lit cinematography and hypnotic sound design come close to completing the illusion, and that’s how the movie scores well on cinematic execution. Yet “We Are the Flesh” isn’t a carefully crafted, multilayered exploration of a Lynchian mindscape hiding genius insight underneath an audacious exterior. It’s a slapdash shot in the dark whose sharpness and starkness give it a mask of being above experimental exploitation when the truth is, it isn’t.
As for people offering plaudits, I don’t know what they are seeing in supposed subtext. The man who made the movie doesn’t appear to know either.
NOTE: The film’s Spanish title is “Tenemos la carne.”
Review Score: 40