The Guardian called Post Tenebras Lux "an opaque, unforthcoming, exasperating work." Salon author Andrew O'Hehir countered, saying Carlos Reygadas' newest is "a mesmerizing combination of opaque art-house cinema, personal reflection and class-based rural thriller." (He then went on to slam Terrence Malick.)
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These reviews are indicative of the erotic, heady release's response overall: it met a booing audience at Cannes just days before Reygadas' snatched up a Best Director award from the festival's jury. Watching it, the warring makes sense: Post Tenebras Lux (Light after Darkness) is unlike anything you've experience before and that, in itself, is unsettling. Reygadas casts his own family in the primary roles and films the domestic interior scenes at his house in Mexico. He sews together clips that jump through time and leaves the ways and hows of this transition open-ended, for you to align with your own ideology. He even throws in a glowing demon carrying a toolbox.
At times, Post Tenebras Lux feels more like a piece of post-surrealist art set to film than a conventional movie. It isn't plot-driven. It is terrifying, unnerving and leaves you needing a hug for reasons that are difficult to pinpoint. Much of it is filmed with a beveled lens, an effect that gives a portal-like view forward and warbles along the frame's edges, like a hazy watermark. There's sex, addiction, suffering told through nature and animals, a Neil Young song and two adorable, innocent children -- and at the end, it's unclear how much of that, if any of it,matters.
The thrill of new rumbles through town this weekend as Tim and Karrie League's franchise opens its first-ever Dallas branch. (More Alamos will be coming too, we've been told.) And that's great. Wonderful. The more the merrier. But just scrolling through the Richardson location's opening programming you notice its populist, everyone's-gonna-love-this, theme.
Texas Theatre has done the opposite. This weekend the historic building welcomes a fringe comedian, a cult classic (with campy Odorama) and themed after-party, a local art show and this: the most divisive film of the year. Yes, you might love it. Yes, you might hate it. But if Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.) didn't offer it, you won't be able to argue with anyone else -- or yourself -- about its merits, so see it there this weekend on Friday at 7 p.m. or Sunday at 8:15 p.m. Tickets cost $9.50.