Emiliano Rocha Minter’s “We Are The Flesh” is arthouse, horror, fantasy, surrealism, experimental. It’s also droning, boring, and at barely eighty minutes goes on way too long. “We are the Flesh” begins as something of a post apocalyptic tale where two wandering Mexican teenagers find a demented older man living by himself in isolation as a hermit in a humongous building. Everyday he forages for resources, and makes new resources which he trades for food by some unseen entity behind a wall. The minute the pair finds him, they’re taken in to his bosom, and are dropped in to demented world that is either Eden or Damnation. Quite clearly, Emiliano Rocha Minter seeks to take all kinds of imagery and use it as a sense of multipurpose provocative metaphor and symbolism, and pretty much all of it is a chore to sit through.
If you love films like “Salo” or “Caligula” you might find this silly, often stomach churning film to your liking. It pretends to be art, and occasionally dabbles in conveying themes about positing itself as some kind of contemporary take on God and Adam and Eve. The man we meet named Mariano is dangerous and horrifying, but he’s also very welcoming initially to the brother and sister when they arrive at his building. Soon enough Mariano makes them work on something of a structure inside of a room he’s building with wood, tape, and cardboard. When the brother and sister make themselves comfortable, they soon begin questioning his every intention, and defy him. The minute he warns the brother to stay out of a particular area of the building, he goes against every order, and our giver is transformed in to a very demonic presence that has an immense inexplicable influence on the pair of siblings.
From there, the film bereft of an actual narrative, or point, manages to bring us through a ton of segments that seem to be competing with one another over which one will inspire a gasp, the most. The structure he builds transforms in to a cave, and the cave then becomes an inferno, and also a very blunt symbol for the vagina. Most of the film’s obvious attempts to offer up a sacrilegious retelling of Adam and Eve are lost in a haze of nonsense that is meant to drown us in the experience. There’s full frontal fellatio, fellatio performed from a POV shot, masturbation, ejaculation, incest, rape, molestation, torture, and yes, blood from a menstruating girl dripping on to a man’s open maw.
“We Are the Flesh” seems to be going somewhere, but by the twenty minute mark, it’s destroyed in a gallery of self indulgent camera work, absurd breaking of the fourth wall, and attempts at disturbing that inadvertently border on comical. Director Minter allegedly called this a political movie, but the hazy metaphor and allegory is more confusing and meandering than selling a particular point home. If you have to watch this, watch it for Noé Hernández whose performance as Mariano is mind blowing. That said “We Are the Flesh” is tedious, dull, and aimless. It is strictly for the experimental and niche audiences that love their films attempting to break taboos at every turn.
Opening in New York City on January 20, 2017 for a week’s run at Cinema Village, and will also open for weeklong runs in Laredo and San Antonio on January 13, Denver and New Orleans on January 20, and San Francisco and Columbus and January 27. Special screenings include El Paso, Houston, Phoenix, Cleveland, Portland and Albuquerque throughout January and February.