Dancing on a thin line between extreme horror and arthouse cinema, Emiliano Rocha Minter’s dizzying debut, We Are the Flesh, is a hypnotic perversion that plays both devil and angel in the same breath. Certain to piss a lot of viewers off before finding its audience, We Are the Flesh is a hallucinatory experience that rewards in spades to those that are willing to drink the punch and travel down the rabbit hole. The traditional narrative structure of the film is as frail as a piece of wet paper, but the plot only gets you in the door. The frantic camerawork and lush symbolism keep you locked inside.
Mariano (Noé Hernández) is a hermit living in a dilapidated building set amongst the backdrop of a dystopian Mexico. Spending his days concocting a meat stew into a flammable liquid that serves as an alcohol and hallucinogenic. He is visited by a young brother and sister (played by María Evoli and Diego Gamaliel) who seek asylum among the strange old man. He offers shelter and food so long as they help him build his cardboard playroom, which doubles as a Native American sweat lodge complete with hallucinations, and the understanding that the siblings must have sex in front of him. Oddly enough, the film gets even more bizarre from there.
Equal parts Gaspar Noe and Alejandro Jodorowsky, We Are the Flesh is a bit pretentious and self-indulgent at times, especially as the razor-thin plot seems to evaporate, but the gorgeous cinematography and pulsating score draw you into the same trance that the siblings experience. This is a beautiful film that wears its vulgarity and depravity with pride. Minter’s debut is a transgressive work of art that is sure to drum up derision, but for those that are willing to step outside of their comfort zone and witness a film that transcends narrative, We Are the Flesh delivers a cinematic experience rife with allegory and symbolism and a leading character that makes you feel as though you are watching a cult initiation video. Arthouse fans have a new masterpiece.