"There is a duality to sexuality. It’s pure but it’s also dirty or hidden at the same time." - Amat Escalante
Amat Escalante’s La Región Salvaje (2016) recently screened at The Carolina Theatre of Durham as a part of the Latin American Film Festival.
I first discovered this film while using the app 'Showtimes' to look up screening information near me. It's a buggy app - sometimes displaying the wrong movie poster, title, description, or some combination of all three. La Región Salvaje - English title, The Untamed - was not actually screening at the local AMC, but this is how I found out about it. Reading the reviews and summary, I thought, "This sounds perfect for me."
At that point, I had no way of knowing just how perfect.
People are so beautiful.
We bear our pains and suffer the slings and arrows of our fortunes and failures.
The premise of the film is that an extraterrestrial being collides with earth via meteorite (a hearkening to David Lynch's 1977 debut, Eraserhead) causing all the animals in the immediate area to mercilessly hump each other. The being is described as us at our most primitive, our most primal side materialized, perfecting itself by copulating with humans.
To distract ourselves from ennui we yearn for something to consume and be consumed by. Intimacies. Cathartic experiences. These temporary banishments sometimes become their own contributions to our suffering. We become ill. We visit it on those around us.
Each successive body comes to discover some conflict with the being, and it lashes out - sometimes to death.
Some bear suffering silently, passively fuming toxic vapors for others to breathe in. Others wear displeasure openly, crying at parties, oversharing with new friends. Whichever style we choose, we cannot help but hurt those around us. The only way to be harmless is to be ineffectual. Life is for the living. To live is to be affective and affected.
Occasionally, too, affectionate. But even this becomes perverse when imbalances persist.
Veronica (Simone Bucio) opens the film with a scene in the cabin housing the creature. Veronica's compatibility with the creature is waning. Implicitly, her need - either for the physical satisfaction, or for wanting more than a 20-armed alien would be able to give her - causes the rift, and it tries to bite a chunk out of her abdomen. In order for the creature to survive, she must find a new, willing visitor.
For them, Veronica says what they each need to hear. "You have beautiful eyes." "You're so beautiful." Then, the creature goes about the business of being the most all-consuming lover possible.
In the absence of moral agreement, there is no right or wrong answer - only a drive to seek pleasure and avoid pain. But that's Hobbes, and that's hogwash. Pain can cast the shadow of pleasure; the reverse is also true. And so the cycle repeats.
We yearn for something to consume and be consumed by. Intimacies. Cathartic experiences.
In the wake of our passions, the fallout.
"The bodies are really piling up."
Amat Escalante interview with MovieMaker