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Saturday, November 16

Post Tenebras Lux

The Devil is red, thin, with a Pink Panther-like silhouette, sexually gifted, silent, always carrying a non-animated toolbox. The purpose of both demon and its toolbox are never revealed, yet skillfully hidden in the events that build around Juan and his family, the main characters of Post Tenebras Lux (the title is a Latin phrase meaning “after darkness, light”), a movie that bears the fascinating touch of Mexican filmmaker, Carlos Reygadas. 

Again, this is a movie where time is versatile, the narrative flows back and forth and the personal touch of the director feels powerful in every scene. Domestic life does not successfully blend with picturesque, rural Mexico, and the discrepancy between Juan (Adolfo Jimenez Castro) and his family's way of life and the virgin surroundings is pointed by the sound of chainsaws, violent outbursts, sexual orgies, and  geographical dislocations. The movie is a creation of the director's fantasy and the reality around him, a voyage into the Reygadas's memories and biography. Rugby scenes, explicit sex scenes from a European spa, domestic fights, Juan's violent behaviour towards the dogs are all fascinatingly drawn in a dreamlike world shot with a distortion effect around the edges, in an impressionistic style.

The Devil's toolbox is home of the seven deadly sins that are skillfully described in every sequence of the movie and reflected in the name of Juan's aggressor, Seven, always chopping trees. First, there is wrath (Juan beating his favourite dog), sloth (Juan's lazy help who fails to follow his orders), lust (Juan’s addiction to porn), gluttony (the fat woman in the sex spa with swingers), greed (Seven's attempt to rob Juan's house), envy (class differences) and pride (Juan’s). Juan, his family, the rest of villagers are all participants in the Devil's playground, subject to their own frailty and hidden desires. The first thing the Devil cunningly inserts in their minds is discouragement, the priceless tool that brings along all negativity and evil, the backside of hope. Words can lift people's spirit or bury their faith forever and the Devil is a master of words. Red, silent, revealed only to the innocent eyes of Juan's boy, the Devil is deeply built in each of us, yet powerless in front of unity. Rugby feels the same as playing inside the family; together we are one, divided, we stand alone. 

Dreamy, hallucinating, Post Tenebras Lux offers you a story that is anxious to be revealed and decoded. Give it patience and have faith in the optimistic haze of the film; Carlos Reygadas won the Best Director Award at the Cannes Festival for its rare, experimental vision and beautiful photography. Once again, movies make mesmerising, vivid journeys into the humane depth of ourselves and beyond the farthest limits of our imagination.

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