REVIEW: Post Tenebras Lux

3 06 2012

Cannes Film Festival

There is a fine line between art film and a nutcase who happens to have a camera and a reel of Kodak; Carlos Reygadas walks the wrong side of that line with his movie “Post Tenebras Lux.” It’s everything you could ever hate about impressionistic film all served to you on a silver platter in just one movie. It would have been an almost humorous form of torture had I not been subjected to it myself, although it become a quick punchline and punching bag afterwards.

To be fair, Reygadas’ film, a collection of totally unrelated scenes including a bathhouse orgy, a young girl chasing cows in a rainstorm, people chopping down trees in a forest, and a man literally pulling his own head off his body, is practically begging to be lampooned. It’s like a five-year-old missed the door for “Cars 2” and then accidentally stumbled into “The Tree of Life,” suddenly receiving a revelation that they could shoot pretty shots of nature too and tie them together. I now even further appreciate Malick and his Palme D’Or-winning film from 2011 as sometimes it takes someone doing something so horribly wrong to make you appreciate someone who does it right.

At least Malick had purpose with his film. Reygadas is just self-indulgent and an aimless vagabond wandering around with a camera, stringing together vaguely similar shots and scenes with laughable dialogue and an annoyingly grippy kaleidoscope lens. There are no themes to be had here, no story to be found. Just beams of light emanating from a projector, empty, pointless, and void of purpose.