The things our father taught us

by December 9, 2010

From Jorge Michel Grau’s "Somos Lo Que Hay"

Guest post by Luke Grundy

Mexican cinema sets the bar high. In the last twenty years we’ve seen talents as diverse as Guillermo Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Gael García Bernal and typist’s nightmare Alejandro González Iñárritu emerge from Central America’s biggest nation, along with modern classics like Y Tu Mamá También and Amores Perros.

Somos Lo Que Hay, then, has a lot to live up to. Jorge Michel Grau’s grim tale about an urban family of cannibals sounds at first like yet another gore-sploitation film, yet promises to be much more. Shot entirely in Mexico, Somos Lo Que Hay plays to its context, shaping its plot to take swipes at the political corruption and societal unrest that has plagued the country for so long.

Perhaps unfairly dubbed “Let The Right One In with cannibals”, Grau’s film looks to play with horror conventions rather than abide by them, and to create the kind of deeply disconcerting ambience that made Tomas Alfredson’s vampiric ode so fantastic. The title – which translates into English as “We Are What We Are” – offers a clue to the film’s true intent: this is a movie about family first and cannibalism second. The teenage offspring have inherited a brutal legacy from their recently deceased father, and must cope with familial strife as well as the implications of this horrific tradition.

This is Grau’s first full-length film – he also wrote the script – and it’s got more than a little ambition. If he pulls it off, Hollywood might gobble him up too.

Based in London, Luke Grundy is an enthusiastic consumer of all things visual and audial, and his blog Odessa & Tucson covers the twin worlds of music and film. An aspiring author, musician, and journalist, he splits his time between absorbing and creating music, video, and literature.