Post Tenebras Lux (2013)

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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 (54) | Top Critics (18)

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…
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Audience Reviews for Post Tenebras Lux

½

This experimental film of powerful imagery and evocative 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.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

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.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

½

Wow. Another bad avant-garde film. Two thousand thirteen is so far the worst year in living memory for avant-garde film.

William Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

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 Waffler
The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer

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