"Though they are concerned with the idea of transcendence, there is in Reygadas’ works what I call ‘a surplus of materiality’ that cannot point beyond, to an ineffable realm, simply because it cannot but forcefully point back to itself. Here the material often ceases to be the means for the attainment of a spiritual dimension to become itself the focus of attention."
Batalla en el cielo (2005)
"Sartre’s elaborations on what he terms the body’s facticity are elucidating as regards Reygadas’s take on materiality and spirituality. For he argues that ‘the obscene’ appears when the body (or part of it) is made flesh and flesh only, a flesh thus devoid of transcendentalist connotations. It is this ‘obscenity’ of the flesh that destabilises the transcendentalism of Reygadas’s films."
"On the one hand, the work of Reygadas is indebted to a cinematic realist tradition that aimed at transcending the material surface of reality through attention to this very surface. On the other, Reygadas complicates this transcendentalism by giving attention to that which cannot but deny transcendence, namely the carnality of the body."
These are quotes from Tiago de Luca: Carnal Spirituality: the Films of Carlos Reygadas.
(Full text here - warning: the text reveals important scenes).
I don't agree that the body denies transcendence. Precisely, what Reygadas pictures in multiple ways is that the body is both at once 'here' (in the pores of one's skin) and 'there' (these pores exuding one's sweat, literally and carnally pouring oneself out). dL