|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|Index||11 reviews in total|
Post Tenebras Lux and TO THE WONDER were my favorite films at Toronto's Festival in 2012. The plot description you get here on IMDb is as good as I could do so I won't bother with that. This film is like a cross between Malick and Lynch. It's beautiful, dark, bizarre and dreamy... and non-linear to add to the cryptic puzzle. Like Malick, the beautiful shots are about enough to hook you in... assuming you know how to experience a movie, not just watch what a studio spoon feeds you. Like Lynch, the dark underbelly of humanity is lurking beneath in a surreal fashion. Subconscious here we come! My favorite place to be! By the way, Reygadas won Best Director at Cannes for this. Now I hope I've added to the mystery, and didn't solve any of it!
Mexican screenwriter, producer and director Carlos Reygadas' fourth
feature film which he wrote and co-produced, is inspired by personal
experiences. It premiered In competition at the 65th Cannes
International Film Festival in 2012, was screened in the Wavelengths
section at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival in 2012, was
shot on location in Mexico, England, Spain and Belgium and is a
Mexico-France-The Netherlands-Germany co-production which was produced
by producer Jaime Romandia. It tells the story about a married couple
named Natalia and Juan who lives in a grand house in the countryside in
Mexico with their children. Whilst the husband attends an AA meeting
and his wife stays at home with their housemaid named Chelita, their
daughter named Rut who likes to be told stories plays with their cows
and their son named Eleazar who admires Peter Parker has a vision of a
devil in one of his dreams.
Distinctly and brilliantly directed by Mexican filmmaker Carlos Reygadas, this quietly paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the four family members' viewpoints, draws an instantly intriguing portrayal of a man who has a treasurable life, but who lacks the perception to see it. While notable for its naturalistic and various milieu depictions, distinct cinematography by Mexican cinematographer Alexis Zobé, production design by production designer and producer Gerardo Tagle, costume design and use of sound, light, colors and music, this narrative-driven, somewhat sociological and modestly existentialistic story about human experiences and co-existing realities which has a sense of love, a sense of mystery and an appreciation of life which is perceived through the many cinematic scenes created by a filmmaker who paints with his camera and who continues envisioning new perspectives to cinema, depicts an incisive study of character about a man who doesn't fully recognize how fortunate he is.
This opaque, surprising, at times humorous, interpretative and reflective drama which is set mostly in a Mexican village and where a father and husband acquaints a tree cutter who has a troubled background named Seven and an English rugby team is preparing for their next match, is impelled and reinforced by its fragmented narrative structure, subtle character development, singular and, without exaggerating, extraordinary style of filmmaking, the children's viewpoints, the masterful scenes of the exploring daughter, understated acting performances by Mexican actress Nathalia Acevedo and Mexican actor Adolfo Jiménez Castro and the fine acting performances by the child actors. A prominently atmospheric, poetically cinematographic and distinguishable narrative feature which is a hymn to family life and which gained, among other awards, the award for Best Director Carlos Reygadas at the 65th Cannes Film Festival in 2012.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Reygadas new film takes a very personal perspective on the preoccupations that have been haunting him in his earlier movies. If I try to put them in phrases: How can one live with the contradictions of life without destroying yourself and others? How are we close to others, the ones that are less privileged,our partners, our children? The answer given by this tenebrous movie is not encouraging considering the fate of the main character. In the first scene a little girl (Reygadas daughter) plays on a wet field where cows, horses and dogs are romping. In the background we can hear thunder and it is getting dark. It is a threatening atmosphere but also a very lively one. The child is full of joy but at the same time the atmosphere is somber. Maybe the author is saying: The life of my child starts in a mysterious and majestic nature. Where will it lead and what is my part in it? Many scenes do not fit in a sequence, but this gives a dreamlike undertone to the movie which is underlined by the distortion to the edge of the image which is annoying at the beginning but fits very well to the overall atmosphere. A devilish and unhurried image appears in the next scene and made me think: The devil is at work and it takes its time. As a child one observes impartially what happens in the adult world. The devil disappears into the chamber of the sleeping parents closing the door to the childish curiosity and getting to work on the sleeping couple with his toolbox. Juan the father and main character is worried about his surroundings and himself and he experiments approaching the inhabitants of the little town where he lives in a stately house. He attends the AA meetings where he also meets seven his handyman at home who will later rob his house and put an end to his life. Nature is impressive but full of violence. Trees are cut in retaliation for family feuds. Dogs that accompany our lives are at the same time violently mistreated. The relation to his wife Natalia is marked with contradiction, by tenderness, violence and distance. He tries to stimulate desire in both with strong erotic but personal words. She plays Neil Youngs "Its a dream" while he dies after saying a few poetic last words. Life is an intense dream for Reygadas and he shares his dreams with very impressive and poetic language.
After the dark, light.
This is the nearest translation of this highly tentative piece of cinema whose story involves Mexican urban life, a couple in a whorehouse, a British rugby match with a guest appearance of devil himself.
At the epicentre a man and his family. On the surface he has it all; a nice house, a beautiful wife and two healthy adorable kids. Beneath that, not all that shines is gold as he struggles with addiction and needs pornography to inspire spousal intimacy.
Unfortunately and despite the high dose of creative filming the above is the only cohesive bit in this film. The added layers that aspire to connect to the title by juxtaposition of moments of light and darkness drove the film onto a one way street with lights out.
A very mixed experience
An urban family, having moved to the countryside of Mexico, experiences raw drama and ambiguous fantasy in this cinematically fresh and rewarding film by Reygadas. The cinematography is ethereal and at times haunting when combined with such unsettling imagery. That's not to say the films imagery is horrifying in itself. The imagery of Post Tenebras Lux is unsettling in that it's picturesque and lush while also being new and confounding. This is partially due to it's hypnotic, almost tunnel vision take on the 4:3 ratio. This way of presenting the story only adds to it's mysterious nature. The narrative in itself is overtly expressionist as it's partial auto-biographical and moves with fluidity removed from reasoning. It's a film that's entrancing and bewildering at the same time - an atmosphere that just seems to work. It certainly worked to make one of the most original films of the year.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mexican film-maker Carlos Reygadas returns with his most ambitious film
yet with 'Post Tenebras Lux', in the most part using a self-made
beer-glass camera lens which refracts his figures, doubles the image
and leaves the screen's borders blurred.
The opening sequence sums up the dreamlike drama of this film, where a young child is surrounded by a pack of dogs and horses from daylight to darkness. Your mind starts to panic as you assume the worst will happen, questions go through your mind about the wellbeing of the child. Its an unnerving scene. Things get stranger still, with a series of seemingly unconnected stories; where English children play rugby in a school; a red Lucifer/goat-like figure making housecalls with a toolbox; and a bathhouse where orgies take place in rooms named after Hegel and Duchamp. Inbetween the many short stories, a couple called Juan (Adolfo Jiménez Castro) and Natalia (Nathalia Acevedo) live in a big house with their children in the mountains somewhere in Mexico. Their lives and the people that work for them are the only concentrated narrative strands running through this film.
These disparate short stories seem to be used to map out the different aspects of Reygadas's home country. The rugby match is the one scene that doesn't fit into this film, I assume its used as a unifying concept for Mexico's people who shouldn't be fighting amongst themselves but working as a team for the greater good, regardless of their backgrounds and beliefs.
'Post Tenebras Lux' is a sketchy film that flits between the real and unreal. By taking so many different snapshots of life, the message is often lost. These broad brushstrokes are occasionally impressive in situations you least expect, such as in the forest and the headless man. Beautifully filmed, Reygadas's vision and imagination unlocks images you may not have seen otherwise, or unsuspecting thoughts and feelings. There's a lot to ponder in 'Post Tenebras Lux' but a lot that you may cast aside just as quickly, what's left may be all you need from this film.
Mexican film 'Post Tenebras Lux' begins with an amazingly surreal opening sequence.It is a very crucial part of the film as it reveals the ways in which this film's young actors have been directed. Director Carlos Reygadas has not been able to capitalize a lot on the brilliant opening shots as much of the subsequent film is muddled and reeks of pretentiousness.Elements like literature and sex have been introduced by the filmmaker to convey hidden messages. In one instance there are people trying to outsmart each other by sharing their shallow knowledge of Russian literature by quoting some of its greatest authors namely Chekov,Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy. Reygadas also uses sex in order to delve deeper into pretentiousness as names of great philosophers such as Kant and Foucault are taken in order to portray a freaky encounter with strangers in a bathhouse.This film's biggest weakness is its complete absence of a clearly defined storyline which could accompany audiences in a meaningful cinematographic journey.Touted as a family film,'Post Tenebras Lux' gives the impression of merely being a convoluted personal vision of how a rich person behaves in a place surrounded by poor people with problems.The hapless audiences are puzzled as they have the right to know how the film is going to end. Hop la as it comes like a maddening shock.Watch and regret at your own perils.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Life is cyclical, filled with both blatant and subtle cycles that
become manifest as we choose to see them. There are simple ones, simple
in that even a young child has a grasp on it: day and night, sleeping
and waking, one behavior being rewarded, a different one is punished,
strategies for getting around it, others that never work, etc. As we
grow older, the more intricate ones appear, like bars of a cage that
had not been visible while you were too busy thinking about other
things. Then something strange happens apart from the natural cycles of
life. We start to create, fabricate, cycles within our lives, sometimes
strengthening the bars that hold us to the natural laws of this world,
then shrinking the cage to a point where we are also bound to cycles
that are only self-destructive.
In Carlos Reygadas' Post Tenebras Lux, I saw a beautiful, powerful exploration of the side of cycles that is usually in the dark, the downturn. The point briefly after the fact, when the party is over, and you're looking around the room at the empty beer bottles and stains on the carpet, nearly everyone has left and there is nowhere for the mind to go except the next day, breaking subtly through the window. You wince at the thought of going to work, or running an errand, things that didn't exist eight hours before. A palpable heaviness is in the air as life empties itself, waiting patiently and uncaringly for your to start filling it again. Aside from this theme, the images themselves were incredibly nostalgic and original, I was hooked from the strange beginning scene.
A little girl is roaming around a field in the sunshine, cows and dogs run all over the place around her. She is laughing and giggling, smiling. But we overstay our welcome as eventually the sun goes down, but we are still with her, in the field, in the darkness. She's not laughing anymore. Someone made a mistake. The scenes of dusk behind various environmental backgrounds is insanely beautiful, and the distorted edges of the film throughout give it an added dimension of dreaminess, as we are taken freely back and forth through time.
The wealthy couple, Natalie (Nathalia Acevedo) and Juan (Adolfo Jimenez Castro), are developed and revealed to us through various scenes, attempts at breaking the ritual cycle, with which they've grown bored. These range from parties to sex, but none of it hides the problems that cause them to fight, the same ones over and over gain. the overwhelming beauty that surrounds them doesn't seem to mean anything anymore, while the viewer is given gifts of extended shots on such beauty.
Another character the film follows is that of "El Siete," a nickname we learn as we are inside an AAA meeting in which members divulge their vices and struggles in trust. El Siete has had many things go wrong in his past, alcohol, drugs, stealing. These men seem to be making an honest attempt at breaking the self-destructive cycles in their lives. Juan comes along with El Siete, but feels that his problem, addiction to online pornography, is minor compared to everyone else's. The hope of these men's redemption is tragically shattered when El Siete ends up shooting Juan as he tries to get away with some stolen goods from Juan's house when it is left untended by another friend, El Jarro--he seems to be unable to escape what many might call an "evil" nature. Is this the meaning of the thin red glowing devil that walks through the house, one at the beginning of the film and once again near the end? Is evil predetermined, a will owned like property by this evil presence? I'm not sure, it is still open to me, but what a cool effect to watch.
Juan quotes Tolstoy's War and Peace in a scene where everyone is arguing the best Russian writers: "Pierre felt for the first time, that strange, yet pleasant feeling as he suddenly understood that wealth, power, life everything that men fight for and defend so eagerly, are worth no more than the pleasure one feels when they abandon you." There is certainly a pervasive sense of all comes to nothing in the end throughout the film, but it is the quiet, contemplative beauty that the film accentuates which acts as an arbiter of each cycle's birth, reminding us to forget worrying about it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Many people found this film to be confusing, lacking a plot, art- house nonsense. Perhaps they were right and perhaps I'm just an art nut but I was all but awestruck by the piece. In Post Tenebras Lux, (Light After Darkness in Latin) Carlos Reygadas gives a beautiful and insightful look into the lives of a family living in rural Mexico. It may seem confusing and heady at first but to me, that is an over- complication. What I got out of this film was a simple and unique portrayal of the ordinary and mundane which can even sometimes seem shocking to us because realism is not a frequently employed style in film. Another thing, is although it may appear to be meandering and slow at times, (and perhaps ultimately is) the long scenes of a family just waking up, a reunion, an argument in the kitchen, a conversation at a bar- they all give us a deep and insightful look at the members of this family so that we can really connect to them on an emotional level which is something every film must do so as not to simply be a bunch of images flashing across the screen, and this one does so very well. Although it is ultimately realist it employs many techniques of impressionism (the 'looking through glass' effects) and even surrealism (a man ripping off his own head, the devil walking through the house). I really enjoyed this tender look into the lives of one family and look forward to watching more of Reygadas' work.
Post Tenebras Lux (2012) is a Mexican film written and directed by
Carlos Reygadas. It stars Adolfo Jiménez Castro as Juan, a
sophisticated and wealthy man who lives with his wife Natalia (Nathalia
Acevedo) and children is a rural area of Mexico.
The movie contains bizarre elements. Many bizarre elements.
Bizarre elements are not necessarily out of place in a movie, but none of these elements made sense to me. I couldn't see how they fit into any cohesive directorial vision. For example, every so often the movie cuts to a scene of English schoolboys playing rugby. This must be highly symbolic. My question is, Symbolic of what?
At one point Juan watches while Natalia has sex with a stranger in a steam bath. Ms. Acevedo is very beautiful. (In fact, an older woman who is facilitating the event keeps telling her how beautiful she is.) So, the scene has its merits in the visual sense. However, in terms of plot, the scene makes no sense, especially because at that point everyone is speaking French. (There is one really positive aspect to this part of the movie. It allows the reviewer to point out that this was a truly steamy sex scene.)
Director Reygadas won the Best Director Award at Cannes for this movie. The jury must still be laughing.
|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|Parents Guide||Official site||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|