Post Tenebras Lux

115 minutes 2013

Booed at the Cannes film festival, this stony art film by Carlos Reygadas (Battle in Heaven, Silent Light) announces its Calvinist intentions early on with a sequence in which a gleaming red silhouette of a devil—looking a bit like the Pink Panther but with horns, tail, and genitalia—prowls around a darkened house as a family sleeps. Apparently this is supposed to signal a struggle between good and evil in the heart of the father, a Mexican farmer whose transgressions include sadistically beating the family dog (shades of the on-screen cruelty that got Reygadas's Japon banned in the UK) and offering up his wife for sexual encounters at a local bathhouse. The filmmaker has referred to storytelling as "a necessary evil," and like his earlier films, this one delivers a grand pictorialism and piercing existential moments that float atop the maundering narrative like noodles in soup. In Spanish with subtitles.

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