Post Tenebras Lux, A Worthy Follow-up to Reygadas's Silent Light
An early scene in Carlos Reygadas's Post Tenebras Lux might serve as a metaphor for its audience's experience watching the film: A little girl (the director's daughter Rut) wades through a muddy field, desperately calling out her relatives' names. Confusion often reigns here, but the film offers a degree of lush beauty that makes sitting through it well worth the occasional frustrations. Its middle section depicts racial and class tensions between architect Juan (Adolfo Jiménez Castro), his wife, Nathalia (Nathalia Acevedo), and their darker-skinned, poorer neighbors. This culminates in a blast of violence, but even then the narrative feels like an assembly of disconnected scenes. In one of the weaker set pieces, Reygadas returns to the sexual provocation of Battle in Heaven, his second film: an orgy set in a bathhouse where everyone speaks French. The rest of the time, the surrealism hews closer to home. The cinematography blurs the edge of the frame, creating a fuzzy shimmer that often doubles the image. Like recent films Upstream Color and Spring Breakers, Post Tenebras Lux embraces a psychedelic vibe that prizes sensual experience over conventional narrative, a trip that isn't always pleasant: Satan makes two cameos, and I don't think they're intended as jokes. Post Tenebras Lux doesn't achieve the stunning visuals of the opening scene of Reygadas's Silent Light (one of the past decade's masterpieces), but it remains a worthy follow-up.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Scott Adkins Plays a Badass Actually Named ‘Colt McReady’ In the Effective ‘Close Range’
- Meet the Pole Who Tried to Warn the World About the Holocaust in ‘Karski & the Lords...
- Jane Fonda Faced Down the Seventies and a Killer in Pakula’s Masterful ‘Klute’
- He’ll Get Your Head Shaking: Surveying the Start of Chung Mong-hong’s (Likely) Great...