Post Tenebras Lux | Chicago Reader

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115 minutes · 2012

Booed at the Cannes film festival, this stony 2012 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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