Post Tenebras Lux (English Subtitled) 2013 NR CC

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(11) IMDb 6.5/10
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POST TENEBRAS LUX ("light after darkness") is the Cannes Film Festival prize winner that follows an upscale Mexican family whose move to the countryside in search of an ideal life results in domestic crisis and class friction. Stunningly photographed, the film is an enthralling and enigmatic exploration of the primal conflicts of the human condition.

Rut Reygadas, Mitsy Ferrand
1 hour, 55 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Carlos Reygadas
Starring Rut Reygadas, Mitsy Ferrand
Supporting actors Joakim Chardonnens, Ander Vérez, Willebaldo Torres, Nathalia Acevedo, Adolfo Jiménez Castro, Eleazar Reygadas, José Alberto Sánchez, Daniel Colorado, José Luis Martínez, Alejandro Ramírez Molina, Félix Robles, Adriana Marquina, Reyes Rivera, Graciano Meijia, José Francisco Blake, Francisco Ramírez, Alex Atkinson, Manuel Barrio
Studio Strand Releasing
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The Mexican art house endeavor "Post Tenebras Lux" is a film that is likely to polarize viewers. While some will instantly proclaim it an avant garde masterpiece, others will be perplexed by its rather cryptic nature. Filled with stagnant shots, non-linear story telling, and even an odd demon or two, you will be clued in very early on whether this movie will appeal to your sensibilities. Evoking the strangeness of David Lynch and the dreaminess of Terrence Malick, I'm still not sure what I was supposed to get out of Carlos Reygadas' puzzler. While he certainly seems to be speaking to the darkness inherent in us all, I don't seem to be bright enough to take away some profound notion or meaning about the way he views the world. The Cannes Jury, however, had no such qualms awarding Reygadas with the Best Director prize at the 2012 ceremony. Combining surreal moments with moments that were almost too real in their mundane observances, the film twists all over itself. And though I might not have loved "Post Tenebras Lux," it was a challenge that I was happy to undertake. Individual shots can be quite spectacular, and certain sequences are disturbing and unforgettable.

With the literal translation of "Light After Darkness," the film is decidedly more dark than light. An upscale family moves to the countryside to begin a simpler existence. The local community is skeptical of the new residents, and the solitude can be taxing on a couple raising two young children. While we get to know many of the locals, the movie is primarily concerned with the ups and downs of Juan (Adolfo Jiménez Castro) and Natalia (Nathalia Acevedo) and their kids. The movie shoots back and forth through time and we see the children at various ages.
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Format: DVD
One way to travel through a foreign country is to hire a tour guide. Sit in a bus and look on as the sights pass you by; occasionally disembark and follow someone around who explains what you're seeing, and then, in a few "safe" places wander around freely to shop. When you're done you've seen something, but remain yourself, essentially untouched and unchanged. Another way is to throw yourself in, hope to find your way, maybe get lost, or get drunk in a local dive and wake up not knowing where you've been.

Most films compare to the first approach to tourism. You get to look on, concerned, from a safe distance, as lives unfold on the window in front of you. You walk out, throw away the popcorn box, and you're done with it. Just a pleasant memory, or a vague sense of dissatisfaction, or an eagerness to take the ride again. Post Tenebras Lux (latin for "after darkness, light") is more like the other approach. If you try and make sense of it all together as it unfolds, it won't work. There's no clear distinction between what's real and fantasy, dream and waking life, past and present, possibility and actuality. Yet you get a feel for a place and a time, and a set of tensions between rich and poor, between rural and urban Mexico, between the longing to be decent and the longing to feel something. I don't think you can walk away unchanged. I think it's only afterwards, in the aftermath, that you can really assess the experience and begin to say what it was.

As far as plot goes, it is, primarily, an impressionistic depiction of two men who are fighting their own demons, that hints at the impact on their wives and children, and at their impact on each other. There is Juan, married to the beautiful Natalia, with two lovely children played by the director's own kids.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Donovan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 23, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Nine Things About the Movie Post Tenebras Lux

1. This is one of the most abstract films I've seen in a long time.

2. The director, Carlos Reygadas, made this film based partly on things that happened to him in his life.

3. The movie is really not much more than a random collection of scenes from a man's life in the hills of Mexico, mixed with a contemplation of desire and fantasy.

4. So we have scenes of a girl wandering in a field, a demon moving into a house, a rugby match, a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, a sex spa, and other disconnected events.

5. Reygadas said he wanted to make a movie where you feel life experiences more than understand them rationally. That's an understatement. Not very many scenes in the movie make much sense or seem to have a point.

6. Reygadas is onto something; there are some individual scenes that are very well done, and fascinating to watch. They touch on such deep life truths that you can only stare in awe.

7. But then there are other scenes that are pretty damn boring.

8. The movie is so "artistic" that it almost implodes. It is filmed in a 4:3 aspect ratio, like an old-fashioned TV. There is also a distortion effect around the edges of the screen, like you're looking through a window or something.

9. In the end, the only person that can really relate to what's going on is probably the director himself. And he's not explaining anything.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Corder on August 27, 2013
Format: DVD
...just a memory without anywhere to stay." This refrain from a song by Neil Young (and the only song in the film) just about sums up Post Tenebras Lux. Time goes backwards, forwards, through dreams and memories and fantasies, with little anchor. The film opens with Rut, the toddler-sister, in a kind of Eden which offers the lush visuals you expect from Reygadas. Later, in an absolutely transformative scene, Natalia, the mother, goes from being the object of ritual sex to the bearer of birth pains in so short a time and with no definable cut that one feels entertained by a magician. Juan, the father, and Eleazar, the son, get jumbled up as generations roll on making it impossible to place a protagonist. The Devil is a wild card I dare not touch. But, the Wealthy and the Poor, all these players, their obsessions and addictions, for what they are worth, all pale and quickly fade beside the exquisite beauty and simple power of nature. Juan's last speech seems to be the only human sighting of light, catching the brilliance of life.

Far less startling, and certainly not cathartic like his masterpiece Silent Light, Reygadas' story-telling style in Post Tenebras Lux is more in keeping with his earlier films. Shot in Mexico, and in parts of Europe, with many scenes photographed with a dizzying, distortion effect at the edges, one feels caught in a core sample of international films and in a dream. And considering the coda, I can understand a little why people booed at the screening at Cannes. A playing field crumbling to the elements is perhaps not a ruined Cathedral cradling the Russian countryside as in Nostalghia. But, the visual poetry is there along with the camera's patience to see things as they are. I'm happy to say that because of Reygadas and a few others, cinema did not die with Tarkovsky.
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