Saturday, August 12, 2017
We Are The Flesh (2017)
DIRECTOR: Emiliano Rocha Minter
WRITER: Emiliano Rocha Minter
A brother and sister who are trying to find food, shelter and survive in a ruined city come across a deserted warehouse. Inside the warehouse, they soon meet a man who has been living inside. He advises the siblings that he will provide them both food and shelter but it comes at a dangerous price. The siblings must obey his every rule and request if they hope to survive the outside world.
Where do we begin with a film like We Are The Flesh? I remember hearing word of mouth when the film played at a few horror-themed film festivals at the end of last year. The movie had received a pretty mixed response from the reviews that I had read for the film. I was lucky enough that with all the word of mouth that I heard regarding We Are The Flesh that nothing was ever spoiled for me. I remember a lot of people comparing it to the work of Gaspar Noe and those were the comments that sold me on wanting to see this film.
After watching We Are The Flesh, I'm extremely divided on the film. This will be one of those films that divide the audience as well. There are elements of this film that are worth marveling over. On a technical level, this is just a gorgeous looking film. The colours, the cinematography and the use of several different filming styles and techniques make this a film that deserves to be watched for all that's going on when it comes to the visual side of the production.
The other half of me is completely torn about what I've just witnessed. This feels like a movie that may need one or two more viewings to take everything in. There is so much going on in this movie that I won't even pretend to understand or comprehend certain things that are thrown at the audience. When I see something as original and surreal as this film, I tend to want to watch the movie again to see if I pick up more on a second viewing. This is where I'm torn on We Are The Flesh, I think once was enough. I don't feel the need to invest more time.
Coming back to Gaspar Noe, I am a huge fan of his work. I own Irreversible, Enter The Void and I Stand Alone. Even his sexually explicit film Love was one that I found to be a technical achievement. This first-time director feels very inspired by Gaspar Noe. I see it in the visuals, subject matter, dialogue and just how far Emiliano Rocha Minter is willing to go in terms of pushing the envelope. This feels more restrained and less harsh than Gaspar Noe but I have a feeling We Are The Flesh is a movie that would make Gaspar Noe proud.
This movie deals with a lot of pretty unpleasant subject matter and this is another element where I'm pretty divided on the film. I own both A Serbian Film and Salo: 120 Days Of Sodom and have seen both films several times. I found this movie to be as repugnant as those two when dealing with such subject matter as cannibalism, incest, unsimulated sex, rape, necrophilia and a lot of the imagery featured in the film. At times I was thoroughly grossed out and uncomfortable by what was being displayed on screen.
The real sex scenes that happen in the film are so in your face and frequent that it feels like they are beating you over the head trying to drive the point home. Early on we see our sister actually give the brother character oral on camera while the crazed man masturbates and ejaculates. We also have a scene where our sister character menstruates into her brother's mouth. This felt like it was used for shock value more than anything else. I think these scenes were added to push buttons more than trying to actually propel the story forward.
When it comes to the acting in We Are The Flesh. The performances are all excellent from our three leading actors. To call the performances brave is an understatement. With some of the situations that the actors find themselves in, they really do deserve praise. Diego Gamaliel and Maria Evoli both give performances that are fearless. Noe Hernandez is given the most to work with and he shines. He plays someone that has gone off the rails due to isolation and loneliness very well. He is also very sinister at times. He swings between so many different emotions that he is unhinged.
In terms of the violence, gore, and scares. This film is pretty tame. While it does feature a bloody cannibal orgy and one of the most gruesome and realistic throat cutting scenes that I think I've ever seen in a movie, the movie isn't all that violent. This is more nauseating due to all the gross sex that is on display. The themes are taboo and they really do overshadow the blood and gore. On a scary level, I feel this film isn't played for scares. We have a few scenes of mild tension but that's it.
Lastly, I want to just mention a few things that didn't sit right with me. The ending of the movie didn't make all that much sense to me. I've listened to other people's interpretations of the film and even the one's that I read up on didn't even get the film. We have scenes that take place that really don't ever get explained. I feel like they will play the surrealist and bizarre card but I think for a movie like this to work, it needs to have some semblance of a plot.
DEATH TOLL: 2
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Someone is poisoned.
- A woman menstruates into a man's mouth.
- A man is shown with a bloody hole in his temple.
- A man's throat is slashed.
- Someone drinks blood.
- Scenes of cannibalism.
We Are The Flesh is a movie that divided me. On a technical level, this movie is quite gorgeous to look at, the acting is extremely solid and just for sheer originality, I think it needs to be seen as movies like this rarely come along. On the other hand, things don't always make sense and a lot of the scenes are just repugnant and gross. I was thoroughly uncomfortable at times which I assume is the intention. If you like Gaspar Noe, you may find some similarities in their work.