We Are What We Are (Somos Lo Que Hay)
Mexican writer/director Jorge Michel Grau’s raw horror about a family of human flesh-eaters mines from the cannibalistic, allegorical and political seam that David Cronenberg and George A Romero explored in the 1970s.
Set in the grimly dog-eat-dog world of Mexico City, We Are What We Are begins with the squalid death of a old man, who leaves behind a family of cannibals: a wife (Carmen Beato) and three children, the eldest of whom, Alfredo (Francisco Barreiro) struggles to take on his father’s mantle as hunter-gatherer.
Grau places the family within the context of a predatory, stinking world, riddled with prostitution and grasping police corruption. Disturbingly, Grau makes cannibalism seem like the only appropriate response to the social circumstances and treats their plight with according sympathy; as with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it seems that the family that slays together, stays together.
From its baldly descriptive title, almost suggestive of a family motto, Grau’s auspicious feature debut offers an unflinching portrait of modern society; as Alfredo’s erratic brother Julian (Alan Chavez) threatens the family unit with his incestuous desires towards sister (Sin Nombre’s Paulina Gaitan), it’s clear that the notion of a world turning in on itself will be followed through to its unpleasant end.
GFT, Glasgow and selected release from Fri 12 Nov.