Having spent the last ninety minutes being transfixed and left reeling by Emiliano Rocha Minter’s We Are the Flesh, I feel like I’m trapped just under the surface of an ice bound lake; my lungs bursting for air as I desperately try to break through and return to some semblance of normality. It’s a film unlike any other, a taboo shattering, psychedelic trip that inverts ingrained parameters of what is right and wrong as it roars through its disturbing tale of an apparently post-apocalyptic Mexico in which a small band of “survivors” gradually embrace, and begin to revel in all the darkest extremes of human desire and behaviour. We Are the Flesh follows brother and sister Lucio and Fauna as they stumble into the “lair” of their saviour Mariano. Having arrived under his roof, things begin to get really weird. Forcing them to aid him in the construction of a strange womb-like cave, he slowly begins to influence and control their thoughts, actions and deeds, forcing them to descend into a pattern of incest, cannibalism, murder and perversion that becomes more primitive, repugnant and salacious with every passing moment. And this model of repeated moral infringement is only broken by the shock ending that flips the film upside down and makes its audience revaluate, once they’re safely back in the “real” world, everything they’ve just seen.
Taking transgressive cinema into new and uncharted waters, We Are the Flesh doesn’t skirt around the everyday, conventional, behavioural boundaries; it smashes through them and then jumps up and down on what’s left of their broken shells. Graphic, disquieting and horrifying and fascinating in equal measure, it’s a voyeuristic nightmare vision of people unfettered by social convention or morality and leaves nothing to the imagination in its full throttle assault on its audiences psyche and senses. Exploring the dehumanising effect that modern society and it’s constant evolution has on the individual and the way in which people all too often become the disposable detritus it leaves in its wake, and the inevitable regression that follows in the wake of abandonment, We Are the Flesh is a powerful, shocking and unsettling indictment of humanity, the cages that we’ve built for ourselves as a species and the inescapable realisation that not only is mankind its own worst enemy but that it is also, ultimately, the architect of its own destruction. Minter’s film while being both strangely compelling and repugnant, refuses to apologise for the fact that it doesn’t hold back and while it is most definitely unsuitable for those of faint heart or who are easily offended, it is a bizarrely entertaining and oddly rewarding journey and experience. Seek solace in the flesh and take a walk on the wild side… Tim Cundle