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.

READ MORE
More SXSW Film
Unleashing the <i>Hounds of Love</i>
Unleashing the Hounds of Love
Director Ben Young on his serial-killer couple drama

Richard Whittaker, May 12, 2017

Ben Wheatley  Catches <i>Free Fire</i>
Ben Wheatley Catches Free Fire
Director on making his U.S. action debut

Richard Whittaker, April 21, 2017

More SXSW
Plans for New SXSW HQ Unveiled at Groundbreaking
Plans for New SXSW HQ Unveiled at Groundbreaking
The 145,000-square-foot building is set to open in 2019

Reanna Zuniga, Nov. 16, 2017

Hey, SXSW, How You Doin'?
Hey, SXSW, How You Doin'?
Tech pioneers, music innovators, and a daytime fave added

Richard Whittaker, Nov. 9, 2017

More by Marc Savlov
Novitiate
An original take on a crisis of faith

Nov. 17, 2017

Wonder
Treacly feel-good drama nevertheless has helpful life lessons

Nov. 17, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

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

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)