Post Tenebras Lux closes this year's Vancouver Latin American Film Festival
Whatever you end up thinking by the end, the first 20 minutes of Post Tenebras Lux is mind-blowingly great cinema. It begins with a shin-level view of a three-year-old girl padding gleefully through the mud while storm clouds gather above. From there, we move to the interior of a house at night as a luminous red demon carrying a toolbox quietly lets itself into the master bedroom. In the next scene, a man loses control as he beats the family dog to a pulp (mercifully, it’s mostly kept out of the frame).
The fun doesn’t end there. Post Tenebras Lux continues in its unpredictable vein with a graphic and weirdly clinical orgy, scenes of British schoolboys playing rugby (kinda the same thing, actually), rural Mexican AA meetings featuring characters with names like R2D2, and one of the most unlikely suicides ever put to film. Gorgeously shot in a square frame that’s frequently distorted around the edge, it’s a big, beautiful assault on the viewer and a brilliant way to end this year’s Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.
Program director Christian Sida-Valenzuela told the Straight that he wanted Carlos Reygadas’s new film—which was simultaneously booed and awarded the best-director prize at Cannes in 2012—as this year’s opener. But he thought better of it, quipping: “People would not come back to the festival.” In all seriousness, Post Tenebras Luxis the kind of movie that demands to be seen by anyone with a sincere interest in film.
“I think he’s one of those filmmakers who really takes advantage of cinema,” Sida-Valenzuela said. “He really pushes it; he really brings something else that makes you understand that cinema is more than what we normally see.” In this case, viewers are left with the impression that Reygadas has found a way to print his roiling unconscious right onto the frame.
Post Tenebras Lux closes VLAFF at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Simon Fraser University, on Sunday (September 8).