Written by: George Pacheco on January 31st, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: Colombia, 1983
Director: Carlos Mayolo
Writers: Carlos Mayolo, Jorge Nieto, Elsa Vásquez
Cast: Adriana Herrán, David Guerrero, Santiago García, Vicky Hernández
DVD released: January 8th, 2013
Approximate running time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Spanish
DVD Release: One 7 Movies
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
One Seven Movies has been known primarily for highlighting obscure Italian cinema efforts over the course of their recent releases, yet with the issuing of Bloody Flesh, the company delves headfirst into the bizarre and twisted world of director Carlos Mayolo.
Mayolo’s career was notable for his appearance in director Werner Herzog’s late period classic Cobra Verde, although, as evidenced here with Bloody Flesh, the actor was also accomplished behind the camera.
This film, originally released in 1983 as Carne de tu Carne, a.k.a. “Flesh of Your Flesh,” opens with a Colombian family living under the dictatorial rule of Rojas Pinilla, grieving over the loss of their beloved grandmother. The plot moves slowly at first, introducing characters at the family’s sugar mill as they gather for the reading of their grandmother’s will.
Character development and foreshadowing make up the lion’s share of this first act, as the family watch old home movies and the audience is greeted by the incestuous subtext laid down by Mayola at the feet of his two young protagonists, the half-siblings Margareth and Andres Alfonso.
This first half of Bloody Flesh is bogged down quite a bit by cumbersome, seemingly needless dialog and exposition. Patient viewers are in for a treat, however, for it’s within the final act of Bloody Flesh where Mayolo’s bizarre, almost Jodorowskian knack for visuals makes its presence known, and in a big way.
As the incest sub-plot gradually builds towards its inevitable climax, so too do the film’s supernatural elements finally rear their ugly heads, as the family’s deceased relatives begin to make their presence known after a series of bombings in the area. Eerie and frightening images of the family’s grandmother and uncle haunt the torrid young couple of Margareth and Andres, just as the young girl herself begins to fall victim to some sort of unholy and demonic blood lust/possession.
If this all sounds right confusing, this is because Mayolo’s script and indeed the film itself follows little in the form of linear storytelling or plot. Instead, the expert framing and evocative cinematography of Gabriel Beristain sets up all of the latter set pieces in the creepiest manner imaginable, while the behavior of Margareth and Andres becomes increasingly desperate and demonic.
Truth be told, Carne de tu Carne is a memorable little film, despite its apparent, initial limitations. Special note should be mentioned of some particularly shocking footage of animal cruelty early on with a turkey which could give Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust a run for its money. This sequence is just one example of the visceral, merciless style of guerrilla film making present here with Carlo Mayolo’s unapologetic take on the supernatural, seen through the eyes of traditional Catholic culture and shaky political unrest.
This review originally appeared at Examiner.com and is reprinted here with permission.
Note: The DVD portion of this review was written by Michael Den Boer.
One 7 Movies presents Bloody Flesh in a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. The source for this transfer look video based, as colors often look muted, black and contrast levels are far from adequate and details never sustained any clarity throughout. Also there are issues with edge enhancement and compression, which vary in degree throughout.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in Spanish and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. The audio sound hallow, there are issues with background noise and distortion.
Extras for this release are limited to a trailer for the film (3 minutes 7 seconds – 1.33:1 full frame, in Spanish with no English subtitles). Overall Bloody Flesh gets a mediocre audio / video presentation from One 7 Movies.