Post Tenebras Lux

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53%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 58

49%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,065
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Movie Info

POST TENEBRAS LUX ("light after darkness"), ostensibly the story of an upscale, urban family whose move to the Mexican countryside results in domestic crises and class friction, is a stunningly photographed, impressionistic psychological portrait of a family and their place within the sublime, unforgiving natural world. Reygadas conjures a host of unforgettable, ominous images: a haunting sequence at dusk as Reygadas's real-life daughter wanders a muddy field and farm animals loudly circle and thunder and lightning threaten; a glowing-red demon gliding through the rooms of a home; a husband and wife visiting a swingers' bathhouse with rooms named after famous philosophers. By turns entrancing and mystifying, POST TENEBRAS LUX palpably explores the primal conflicts of the human condition. (c) Strand

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Critic Reviews for Post Tenebras Lux

All Critics (58) | Top Critics (22)

  • Reygadas' jagged, broken-logic drama lurches from fantasy to earthbound complications, though it is often hard to tell one from the other.

    Jul 25, 2013 | Rating: 1.5/4
  • The result calls for a viewing as different as looking at a Vermeer against Rothko or de Kooning or multiple other modern painters.

    Jun 17, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Along with Bela Tarr and Terrence Malick, Carlos Reygadas is one of today's few genuinely religious filmmakers.

    Jun 12, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Moviegoers beholden to clean narrative may feel they need their own explanatory GPS and audio guide. But the richer reward lies in allowing oneself to be led by this gifted director's instinct for lyrical, sensory exploration.

    Jun 6, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This one delivers a grand pictorialism and piercing existential moments that float atop the maundering narrative like noodles in soup.

    May 24, 2013 | Full Review…
  • It's as if Reygadas started with a sprawling cache of visual ideas and then tried to find some way to organize them all. The effect can be frustrating at times, but also surprising and beguiling.

    May 3, 2013 | Full Review…

    Scott Tobias

    NPR
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Post Tenebras Lux

  • Apr 13, 2014
    <b>WARNING. THIS IS A REVIEW THAT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE.</b> Since I first met Reygadas until the day I die, I shall always defend this tremendous cinema master with sword and shield against the modern mainstream perspectives of moviewatching and against those people, that, incessantly, keep <b>insulting</b> not only Reygadas, but also his fans. Proudly, I have been called around 10 insulting names and courses, and I'm proud of it. You will play dirty, I will play dirty too: Reygadas is a master and his films are masterpieces whether you like it or not. <b>FACT</b>. You feel envious and frustrated because of your deplorable and laughable incapacity to raise to the surface your dead ability to appreciate art and transform it into a complimentary contribution to your own existence and to your unique perspective of the Universe, <b>FACT</b>. For those finding an inherent impossibility to relate to his films and to find meaningful or valuable content, my opinion is, obviously, not a fact. And that is a fact. <i>"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."</i> - Ephesians 6:12 With an intrusive array of metaphysical, mysterious, terrifying, beautiful, absorbing and unforgettable imagery, Reygadas, the winner of the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival of 2012, once again confirms himself to be the Antichrist of religious idolatry, not necessarily from an atheistic point of view, and analyzes the primal conflicts of the human condition with impeccable artistry and a haunting audiovisual detail with a naturalism that almost becomes tangible to the viewer, and undeniable to the soul. The core of this constantly shifting amalgamation of dreams, reality, allegories, of the spiritual wickedness and the rulers of this dark world, is a family of European family bonds (that's a theory) that is forced to fight, singlehandedly, against the hypocritical class struggle in a hostile rural setting, while the viewer is given symbolic hints of the evil entities that might be orchestrating this nightmarish chain of horrible acts for shaking the life of a family; hence, given the striking similarities I perceived with the tale of Job: <i>"And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."</i> - Job 2:2 Some unexplainable wizardry is applied in order to make a striking cacophony of the terrifying and the beautiful, of the real and the unreal. The two opening scenes remain as the most iconic: 1) A girl running through a field with animals circling around her. She happily calls the names of the animals, and the names of her closest acquaintances as if she was dreaming. It is later confirmed by her that she was dreaming, but maybe that was a dream too, or simply a fantasy of a dream. Levels of reality here are not clear. As dusk approaches, animals begin to run away scared while threatening thunders darken the sky and surround the daughter completely by tenebras. 2) A glowing demon enters into the house carrying something, slowly gliding through the bedrooms corridor until it closes the door as the kid watches curious. These two scenes should have left something very clear to the viewer since the very beginning: A) It was a film about conflicts, maybe from a spiritual perspective, that attempted to speak directly to the soul. The soul and the mind never come to terms of agreement. It was, therefore, a movie aimed towards the soul, which is capable of comprehending what the mind cannot. B) Reygadas would most probably never have the intentions of clearly identifying the realms. That is your job. Nobody can compel you, of course, so that was the chance you had to walk away. For those that stayed and loved the experience will tell you exactly one same thing: they didn't understand it. But they felt it. In that way, it becomes meaningful. -It becomes meaningful to see a red demon in the house: <i>"And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life."</i> Job 2:6 -It becomes meaningful to see a family victim of not only domestic abuse because of class racism, but also of internal marital conflicts. -It becomes meaningful to see somebody lose his head. -It becomes meaningful to see everything from such a compromising, minimalist perspective, where sex and violence become intrusive monsters. -It becomes meaningful to realize that, despite the apparent peacefulness of nature, nature itself is the most chaotic cycle of the planet. -It becomes meaningful to know that not everything must be rationalized. It becomes meaningful to change the film's title in the way you like, just like I did: <b><i>Post Tenebras Spero Lucem. "After Darkness, I Hope for Light."</i></b> 94/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • May 05, 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.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2013
    Wow. Another bad avant-garde film. Two thousand thirteen is so far the worst year in living memory for avant-garde film.
    William D Super Reviewer
  • Mar 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?
    The Movie W Super Reviewer

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