Post Tenebras Lux
Post Tenebras Lux begins with a young child roaming around a field whilst the sky grows darker, transforming from a clear blue into a vortex of dark colours. Calling for her mother as cows and dogs encircle her, this Gilliam-esque introduction essentially sums up the ethos of the film in which dreams and reality intertwine to form a narrative that is, for the most part, incoherent. Directed by Carlos Reygadas (Japan, Battle in Heaven and 2007’s acclaimed Silent Light), Post Tenebras Lux is essentially a story about sex, desire, and the interference of dreams and the past.
Adolfo Jiménez Castro and Nathalia Acevedo play the two protagonists of the film. Affluent and intelligent, the young couple are dissatisfied with their marriage, causing them to up the ante with their sex lives. Living in an isolated Mexican village with their two children, the pair stumble through a series of strange events and encounter odd inhabitants of the village, such as the tree surgeon referred to as “Seven”.
Aiding Post Tenebras Lux’s strange and unfamiliar world is Reygadas’ use of cinematography, which somehow manages to be both brilliantly inventive and repeatedly distorted. The film is shot with a camera that blurs the outside of the screen, allowing the film’s imagery to be viewed almost through a looking-glass. Added to this is the “doubling” of imagery akin to the double-vision one experiences after a night of heavy drinking.
Unfortunately, the various innovative tools utilised through the film provide no distractions from the lack of action. The biggest fault of Post Tenebras Lux is that it is, quite frankly, a boring film, with little emphasis on character or plot. Furthermore the meagre plot is neither linear nor cohesive, and rather than using this to create intriguing scenes, we are instead left to trudge through the film.
Although Post Tenebras Lux isn’t terrible, it is, unfortunately, riddled with faults. Tiresome and half an hour longer than it ought to be, you may be leaving the film with aching arms from having to pinch yourself every ten minutes in an effort to stay awake. From a director whose previous output has been challenging and accomplished, Post Tenebras Lux is a huge disappointment. Nevertheless he was awarded the palme d’or for best director at Cannes 2012.
Post Tenebras Lux is released nationwide on 22nd March 2013.
Watch the trailer for Post Tenebras Lux here: