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FLESH CITY (2019)

Now this is an odd one. Flesh City is a bizarre, almost surrealistic film from German writer/director Thorsten Fleisch. Shot over four years on an almost non-existent budget, the result resembles a punk version of Videodrome, with a dose of Max Headroom added in.

Vyren (Christian Serritiello) meets Loquette (Eva Ferox) meet in a Berlin nightclub, After an altercation with Cyril (Shaun Lawton, Posession) they decide to go explore the club’s basement, that’s when things really get strange. There’s a chamber with a crystal in it. And when the crystal is struck by a laser, it opens a gate. They’re attacked by Prof. Yagov (Arthur Patching) and his robot, but Vyren manages to escape, though his arm is starting to mutate.

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Can he find a way to rescue Loquette and stop the mad scientist’s plans before he can use “The Transmission” to mutate everyone into a city made of flesh?

As if that isn’t enough weirdness, Flesh City has very little dialogue or narrative thread, It has the barest of storylines, held together by its visual style and editing. And frequently interrupted by underground music videos broadcast, airing as part of the show ‘Magical Nihilism’.

There are some nice touches such as all of the exteriors being in black and white while the interiors are in colour. A lot of the individual shots are well done, and the film’s climactic effects evoke 50s science fiction films in a good way. But the lack of a conventional structure in something that runs feature length will be a stumbling point for most viewers.

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Obviously, Flesh City isn’t for everyone. It’s going to be tough going for those who need an easy-to-follow narrative and mainstream visual styling. Those who think David Lynch makes strange movies are going to be tested. Fleisch said in the material that came with the screener, “I have a background in experimental film, studying for two years with Austrian avantgarde filmmaker Peter Kubelka at Städelschule”. It shows in Flesh City. Those who can’t deal with films outside of the mainstream narrative structure are going to hate this. If you’ve been exposed to experimental and avant-garde film, and liked what you saw, this should satisfy.

BTW, the film comes with a warning for those with photosensitive epilepsy. Heed that warning.

Flesh City recently had its world premiere at the Insolito Fantasy Film Festival in Lima, Peru. You can stay updated on future screenings and Fleisch’s other projects on his website.

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