Thursday, February 2, 2017

We Are the Flesh (February 2nd and 5th at the Cleveland Cinematheque)

[WE ARE THE FLESH screens Thursday February 2nd at 8:25 pm and Sunday February 5th at 8:45 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque.]

Review by Eric Sever

When the apocalypse happens, why not indulge every twisted fantasy you may have? I mean, the world's over, so what have you got to lose?

WE ARE THE FLESH rather gleefully explores incest, rape, necrophilia, cannibalism, and even hints at pedophilia. Yet, this is no straightforward "Walking Dead"-style narrative about a crumbled society where people do nasty things to each other.

Writer/director Emiliano Rocha Minter has created a more slippery, metaphysical meditation on human sexuality. In short, it's more like an hallucinatory fever dream from inside the womb.

A dirt-stained man (Noe Hernandez) tries to exist in a decrepit warehouse by making gas and bartering through a mysterious hole in the wall. When a teenage brother and sister (Maria Evoli and Diego Gamaliel) arrive, the three slowly begin a seemingly nonsensical project, building a giant structure from salvaged wood and cardboard.

With a cacophony of noises and little dialogue, the steady, confident storytelling slowly draws the audience into this grimy world of primitive technologies, sparse humanity, and subdued colors.

Long edits and scenes played out in one take foster a hypnotic quality that lulls the audience right through into the neon-colored, cavernous landscape that the characters literally create out of garbage and tape. The story begins to exist more and more within this strange hyper-reality that the characters have constructed for themselves, until there is no trace of the post-destruction aesthetic from the earlier parts.

In a wonderfully confounding turn, the movie wraps up with a very Lynchian perversion of its own narrative and style. This will be the moment people will likely discuss the most. Was it all just a dream? A drug-induced hallucination? An abstract representation of mankind's birth?

WE ARE THE FLESH is a bit of a head-scratcher with enough filmmaking hootzpah to support the weight of some rather weighty, elusive themes.

Late in the film, one of the characters says, "This is not your average party." No, sir. No, it is not.
2 1/2 out of 4 stars

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