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Post Tenebras Lux Reviews

Page 1 of 4
Bill D 2007
Bill D 2007

Super Reviewer

May 4, 2013
Wow. Another bad avant-garde film. Two thousand thirteen is so far the worst year in living memory for avant-garde film.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

March 22, 2013
This experimental film of powerful imagery and evoking atmosphere may be intriguing at first, but soon it becomes pretty clear that Reygadas is not really interested in saying anything consistent in this aimless series of unrelated scenes that hardly come together.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

May 5, 2013
While greatly appreciating Carlos Reygadas' two previous artistic conflicts of the body and the spirit, I am admittedly less than thrilled with his latest, "Post Tenebras Lux," despite its Latin title, cameo from Satan himself, beautiful scenery and one thing I have never seen in a film before. The problem arises from attempting to do a stream of consciousness movie which only manages to confuse matters behind any comprehension.

What we do know is that Juan(Adolfo Jiminez Castro) and Natalia(Nathalia Acevedo) are a pair of wealthy landowners, who have a couple of infant children, Rut and Eleazar. In one graphic scene, Juan shows that he does not mind getting his hands dirty before attending an evangelical service in the woods with some of his workers where he confesses to his internet use which is nothing compared to the highbrow bathhouse orgy him and Natalia attend in France with rooms named for Hegel and Duchamp.

That's the reality. The dreams are a little bit more tricky, as they are referenced a couple of times, first with a dream of Rut's and then when Natalia is later pounding out a Neil Young song on the piano. Everything else is a little less clear, as it all may circle back to a key incident late in the film, including flashforwards to Rut and Eleazar being older, first at a party and then maybe Eleazar at a boarding school in England playing rugby. Confusing matters beyond all despair are the occasional photographic distortions which could mean it's all a dream or maybe not. You decide.
themoviewaffler.com
themoviewaffler.com

Super Reviewer

March 25, 2013
Juan (Castro) and Nathalia (Acevedo) are a middle class Mexican couple who have recently moved, with their two infant children, to a remote part of the country. Their attempts to become accepted into the community seem thwarted, some of the locals not considering them "genuine Mexicans". With their relationship becoming fractured, they visit a swingers' sauna in Belgium. A local man, known as 'Seven' (Torres), a former drug addict, does some work on their house but ultimately betrays Juan's trust. We also see footage of a rugby match at an English public school, which may be a flashback to Juan's education.
Reygadas' latest film, for which he received the Best Director Award at last year's Cannes Film Festival, is an odd beast. There's a relatively straight narrative here concerning the disintegration of a relationship but it's interspersed awkwardly with moments of magic realism which wouldn't be out of place in the work of Reygadas' compatriot, Guillermo Del Toro. The two don't complement each other in the slightest. When the director is presenting us with dream-like sequences, the film is somewhat engaging but the relationship drama is tiresome and cliched. The movie's finest moment comes courtesy of a scene where Juan's infant son dreams of Seven as a cartoon devil, influenced by his viewing of 'Pink Panther' cartoons. It's a stunning representation of how children see the world but when you've had a scene like this it's hard to settle back into a soap-opera family drama. The worst moment features Nathalie performing a horrifically sung piano rendition of a Neil Young song. It's clearly meant to be a cathartic moment but, like the horrid sing-along of P.T Anderson's 'Magnolia', it's a moment the film simply hasn't earned.
Reygadas does his best to shock his audience. We see a dog having it's head violently bashed in, an orgy scene that makes 'Eyes Wide Shut' look like a Disney movie and, hilariously, a self-decapitation (yes, a self-decapitation). Someone should tell the director it's 2013; we live in a post-shock world. With real-life atrocities and porn to suit every fetish just a Google search away, why do film-makers still think they can provoke a reaction from audiences in such a juvenile manner?
August 2, 2013
Look. You don't have to like "Post Tenebras Lux"; it levels with you early on its campy freakiness. "FUCKING WHAT" is all I kept thinking to myself watching it -- and by the end, audibly said -- and that's about as much a review as writer-director (I guess there was a script?) Carlos Reygadas wants and would expect from any given person. You thought "To The Wonder" played like a Terrence Malick parody? Try "Lux" on for bizarro size. You're in or you're out. Something this abstract and avant garde, there's not much of a window for even standalone appreciation but doesn't connect.

Okay, naysayers out? Huddle up and listen close. I loved "Post Tenebras Lux". I love pretty much all movies like this; tough to seek out, and even tougher to comprehend. "Lux" puts "Upstream Color" to shame in terms of knotty mosaics. Or at least I think. It basically boils down to whether or not you have, not only the patience to watch this, but how much enjoyment you derive from seeing random strange images, "characters" you have to describe in quotes, and scenes that repeat and overlap as visual paradoxes unto themselves. Pretentious? Yeah, I guess. The better it sits with you the more you'll want to lick that phrase, though.

"Post Tenebras Lux" translates literally as "after darkness light". I don't know if there should be a comma after "darkness". That's maybe too much of a segregation. And Reygadas, he's anything but classifiable, the keeper of his own crypt of optic, unforgettable rhythm. (84/100)
July 3, 2013
Dat imagery tho. I was spellbound the entire 2 hours. As avant-garde as art house cinema gets. If that sounds up your alley, you will love it
June 12, 2013
Just a buncha random bullshit, sometimes theres a story with characters, sometimes there isnt, i honestly cant remember most of it and its only been 3 days, whatever fuck it
September 6, 2014
Carlos Reygadas is a contemporary Contrary Warrior!
May 3, 2013
The first sequence is great. It is really strong. The portions that follow dont carry much meaning for me and while some looks beautifully shot I find it difficult to get lost in it. The lack of consistent material keeps the piece as a whole from having much substance to it.
August 21, 2014
I love experimental films, I love arthouse films, I love indie films. This film however is like a parody of pretentious films. Like nothing connects, I understand not being spoon fed a plot, but there is no plot. It's not a movie really, it's like an unfinished something. Who ever edited it, forgot that movies are supposed to be the more interesting parts of life. In harry potter we never see him use the bathroom, or brush his teeth but we don't care because there's a story. In this movie you get the opposite, people do what real people do but you just don't care. WE WATCH MOVIES TO ESCAPE AND EXPLORE, this film doesn't do any justice to cinema.
Max M.
May 8, 2014
I'll be straight up honest; I don't know how to rate or review this film. For two reasons.

1) You can't hate what you don't understand.
2) You can't love what you don't understand.

Needless to say, I didn't understand Post Tenenbras Lux. And I'm not sure why. To help illustrate where I'm coming from, I'll compare to this to Holy Motors. Because, like PTL, it's also an avant-garde art film. But, unlike PTL, Holy Motors was critically acclaimed.

(The following discussion is written as I go along and is very general)

What makes a good art house film?

This is an even more complicated debate than what makes a film good generally speaking. But art house cinema is even more subjective than general cinema. I know it sounds ridiculous to separate the two, but I hope you're picking up what I'm throwing down.

I think when it comes down to general cinema, what will really divide audiences about liking Film X is the story. People will like the film, as a whole, if they like the story. People won't like the film, as a whole, if they don't like the story.

I think when it comes down to art house cinema, though, what will really divide audiences about liking Film Y is their interpretation of what it means. Art house films typically set out to mean something more. Something not concrete. They can use many techniques and tools to do this, but regardless, the meaning of Film Y can be drastically different from person to person. Oppose to Film X where the story is straight-forward and everyone can agree what happens, why they happen, and so forth.

Why I believe Holy Motors clicked significantly more than Post Tenenbras Lux is because Holy Motors, for an avant-garde film, isn't so far-fetched. It plays like a concept album. Each scene contributes to the expression of the overarching concept, theme, meaning, idea, or whatever. They're easier to connect, basically.

To me, without going in too deep, because this is a PTL review not a Holy Motors thesis paper, Holy Motors was a commentary about the art of acting. But as for Post Tenenbras Lux, I couldn't make much or any connections to all the other scenes, nor did I find a common underlying concept, theme, meaning, idea, or whatever between all or any of them. It was much harder for me to connect, basically.

For that reason, I can't give this a good or a bad review. Because I didn't understand it. To give it a bad review because I didn't understand it, would be cinematic injustice. To give it a good review even though I didn't understand it, would be self-deceptive and pretentious.

But I will say it truly has some exquisite visuals. The second scene in the film is the filmmaker's daughter running and wandering around an enormous field filled with cows, dogs, and donkeys during dusk. And to be quite honest, I could've watched that for the entire duration of the film. The child was adorable, the backdrop was gorgeous, and the camera movement was immersive.

That being my favorite scene, despite having no idea how it ties into the whole film, my second favorite comes from the one right after or just a couple after. A red demonic silhouette carrying a toolbox lurks through the home of the film's central family.

So, there's some really fascinating moments and scenes here and there, but as I've said multiple times already, I just don't know what they mean.

Having said all this, when I put the flick in, it was around two or three in the morning ... Not sure if that has anything to do with my lack of comprehension ...

Anyway, I'm giving Post Tenenbras Lux two mangos out of four because that's right smack-dab in the middle. A fair rating, I suppose. Maybe one day I'll go back and watch it and hopefully get a better grasp of it so I could write a more fair review.
April 28, 2014
Pretentious, but never dull exactly. I won't even act like I understood this film because it felt so self indulgent and personal, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt considering I have nothing to truly compare it with. It's art house through and through, but in that conventional "it knows it's art" sort of way.
May 2, 2013
There's something kind of incredible about this film even though I don't really know what it is. Many scenes seem to have nothing to do with one another and don't come together linearly or in meaning. We can pick up on some of the motifs here, such as childhood vs adulthood, but even then we aren't able to decide what exactly is meant. Scenes are always visually stunning and we never forget that we're watching a piece of art. Your enjoyment of this movie depends on how much you're willing to accept it for what it is. I think it's a beautiful, one-of-a-kind, challenging piece, even though I wish it would come together a little more for me.
I do enjoy movies like this, I'm not just liking it out of pure admiration. It's exciting for me to watch films like this stretch the boundaries of their art form.
May 2, 2013
what the ..? dig the peripheral camera effects. strange and affecting.
shakercoola
December 28, 2013
The films borders art film with Gallery video. To gain satisfaction from it one should indulge the director's indulgence.
January 7, 2014
What's with the chess here? Black checks White ignoring he's in check himself. A masterful image by Reygadas, meaning Reality is there to be trespassed.
December 25, 2013
begs you to love it nearly as much as its DP does
December 20, 2013
Amazing opening scene but its totally unwatchable and too experimental movie.
December 7, 2013
I'm cool with not understanding this movie because it is never dull, even its longest, quietest, most contemplative sequences. It's gorgeous and strange and frustrating and suggestive and frightening. It's even hard on the eyes. Many parts of the film employ a lens that focuses only in the very middle while the edges are rounded and break the image up into concentric circles. It literally made my eyes burn. And yet I'm not complaining. There's a loose story about a man with with a wife and two small children and a problem with rage. There's a sequence of animal abuse that absolutely bars this film from those who can't put some aesthetic distance between their empathy for animals and art's use of their abuse. There's a bright read silhouette of a devil (with both a penis and a tail) carrying a toolbox. There's the most shocking suicide I've ever seen on film. There's an amazingly charming three or four year old girl. I think I've talked myself into making sure this goes on my list of best films I've seen this year (2013).
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