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Saturday June 8, 2013 4:43 pm

Review: ‘Post Tenebras Lux’ Lacks Heart, Underwhelms

Post Tenebras Lux

What I mistook as ambition and mythology for Carlos Reygadas' decision to title his film, Post Tenebras Lux, in Latin ("Light After Darkness") was simply pretentiousness. Though the movie - shot in a 1:33 ratio - was undoubtedly as stunning as a Terrence Malick film, the semi-autobiographic pic was as self-indulgent as a Tyler Perry flick.

The Mexican film - which won the Best Director award at last year's Cannes Film Festival - is comprised of a series of vignettes, mostly centering on the lives of a family who has made the transition from city to country life. Reygadas' meditation on both internal and external human conflicts is too ambitious, resulting in a film lacking cohesion and theme.

(Do not read past the jump if you wish to avoid spoilers.)

Non-narrative films can work well if the film conveys a strong enough message through mood; however, Post Tenebras Lux sets the viewer up to believe that she'll experience such a film with its own essence, only to disappoint by not delivering. A few scenes fall blaringly out of step with the rest of the movie (the husband and wife reluctantly participate in a Belgian whorehouse; a man rips his own head off, subsequently followed by the sky pouring down blood), feeling as though Reygadas inserted them purely for shock value.

Watch Post Tenebras Lux for the audio and visual experience, but don't expect to come out of the theater wanting more from Reygadas.

The film, which stars Adolfo Jiménez Castro and Nathalia Acevedo, is currently showing in limited theaters.

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