18 February 2017



I think I've finally got a handle on what the phrase 'arthouse cinema' really is. It's just porn, that's all! Full-on porn with flaccid willies, erect willies, boobies, heinies, humping and ejaculation, all real and in full colour on the big screen for your delectation.

Of course, if you say it's arthouse, you can totally get away with your film's being pornographic, haha. I have a few home movies of myself getting' jiggy with an ex of mine. If I say they're 'arthouse,' can I show them at festivals and win awards too...?

Ah, you guys know I'm only being tongue-in-cheek, don't you? (but I never said which cheek...!) WE ARE THE FLESH is a truly unforgettable Mexican arthouse-horror film that really pushes those boundaries that film-makers are always banging on about.

In fact, it doesn't just push them, it beats them black-and-blue and then tells the neighbours that they fell down the stairs after walking into a door, if I may indulge myself in a little black humour for a moment. (Is there any other colour...?)

We're meant to think that the action in the film is taking place in some sort of post-apocalyptic society, the kind in which people forage for food in bins like rats and construct makeshift homes wherever they can out of whatever materials happen to be available.

Fauna and Lucio are sister and brother. They find food and shelter with an odd man called Mariano, but it comes at a price. Mariano is a strange character indeed. His first demand of the teenaged siblings is that they help him turn his abandoned building into a bizarre, cocoon-like structure that resembles nothing so much as the human womb. Sounds weird? Trust me, dear readers. You literally haven't heard the half of it yet.

When the womb-like structure is completed to Mariano's satisfaction, his demands of the siblings becomes a little more twisted, a little more deviant. Here, you see, in the flickering half-light of their surreal construction, is an absolutely safe space in which to act out one's deepest, darkest desires.

As if you can't imagine what these might be...! Let's just say, we ain't talking about stealing candy bars from the convenience store or not washing your hands after you've been to the toilet. Sex is always at the root of people's deepest, darkest desires, isn't it?

Mariano has an urge to see the siblings copulate, just like crazy old Miss Havisham once had a strange fancy to see children play amongst the dessicated ruins of Satis House. Will the brother and sister comply with Mariano's 'strange fancies' or will they tell him to 'go f**k himself,' which he also does with great gusto in the film...?

Let's take a closer look at the siblings. Fauna, the sister, is beautiful and lively. Ever heard the saying 'When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear?' Fauna is more than ready to learn everything that Mariano wants to teach her. She is positively ripe for the challenge.

She wants to push herself to the absolute limit and live as Mariano wants her to, like an animal that only obeys the urges of its physical body and nothing else. Lucio, her curly-headed brother, is more reticent but, as the old saying goes, 'a standing c**k has no conscience.' Do you think he's gonna decline the offer of pure animalistic sex when it's laid out for him on a plate? Not bloomin' likely. Sister or no sister...

The film is gorgeously-shot, with endless images of and allusions to birth, the womb, the birth canal, birth fluid, re-birth, sex and death. Almost every taboo subject you can think of is in there, from menstrual blood, masturbation, religious blasphemy and the expelling of urine to incest, rape, necrophilia and cannibalism. The film even has a full-throttle cannibalistic orgy in it, for crying out loud, and an interesting twist in the tale which you might enjoy.

The only other film I've seen like this that wasn't an actual porno, haha, is Gaspar Noé's LOVE, which I watched in the cinema in the Autumn of 2015. It's a film about a love triangle between a man and two women that features real sex in every conceivable (and non-conceivable!) position that nearly blew me away with the shock when I saw it. I'm Irish, after all. We didn't even have birth control here till nearly the 'Eighties, for Chrissakes.

Gaspar Noé is acknowledged in the 'thank-yous' of WE ARE THE FLESH and I believe the good old Marquis de Sade gets a mention in there too for his ideas and theories, some of which are reflected here in the film, which by the way also has some scenes of rather unpalatable and disturbingly realistic-looking violence in it.

This utterly mind-blowing and unmissable Spanish-language film is out now on Blu-Ray and DVD, courtesy of ARROW FILMS and FETCH PUBLICITY. It comes with a whole host of excellent special features, including interviews with the director and the three lead actors.

It also contains a video-essay by stunning babe and film critic Virginie Sélavy (c'est la vie, geddit?) in which she attempts to persuade us that the film is no porno intended merely to shock, but the fully worked out and fully-realised artist's vision. I believe you, Mlle. Sélavy. Thousands wouldn't, but I believe you...!


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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