SXSW Film Review: Excess Flesh

Body image horrors mirror a horrifying and hallucinatory L.A.

Filmmaker and multidisciplinary provocateur Patrick Kennelly aims his righteously surreal ire at a thoroughly broken social system that elevates a borderline cadaverous feminine form above the more curvy and natural norm.

”I hope you already ate,” said Kennelly during the film’s Alamo Ritz intro at its Friday night world premiere, hastily noting that his film’s theme of collective culturecide via overconsumption – of food, sex, and all else –  might put some of the audience off their usual Alamo Drafthouse fare. No ballyhoo, that: Excess Flesh is nauseating, perceptive, and an altogether damning indictment of a hyper-consumerist society run amuck. It’s a wildly imaginative cultural critique that recalls mid-eighties NYC filmmaker Nick Zedd’s infamous Cinema of Transgression and its accompanying manifesto.

Bethany Orr gives an utterly fearless performance as Jill, a young Los Angelean perceived, both by others and herself, as being overweight. She’s not, but her kitten-with-a-whip roommate Jennifer (an equally disturbing, and great, turn by Mary Loveless) seems to be constantly shoveling Repo Man-esque generic snackables into her face without gaining an ounce. It doesn’t help matters that both women’s insatiable appetites are, no pun intended, madly, manically feeding off of each other. Comparisons to Polanski’s more paranoid moments (Repulsion) are not unwarranted, and the whole hallucinogenic affair vibes like a Richard Kern shoot gone terribly wrong.


Excess Flesh

Midnighters, World Premiere
Saturday, March 14, 11:59pm, Alamo Lamar C
Friday, March 20, 4:45pm, Alamo Lamar C


Keep up with all our dispatches from SXSW at austinchronicle.com/sxsw.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Q&A With Comedian Tig Notaro
Q&A With Tig Notaro
Showtime documentary airs Friday

Andy Campbell, April 15, 2015

SXSW Film 2015 Rundown
SXSW Film Coverage
Reviews, interviews, photo galleries, and more

March 22, 2015

More by Marc Savlov
Life Itself
Maudlin multigenerational drama thinks it's profound (spoiler: it's not)

Sept. 21, 2018

Mandy
Nicolas Cage is stunning in this hallucinogenic revenger

Sept. 14, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW Film, SXSW, Excess Flesh, Patrick Kennelly, Bethany Orr, Mary Loveless, SXSW Film 2015

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle