Slow-moving. Film seems to lean toward a documentary-style detachment. The narrative zigzags back and forth. I may come back to this review.
Carlos Reygadas’ maddeningly opaque stream of consciousness (the title translates as “After Darkness, Light”) starts out with two toddlers having bad dreams. Little Rut dreams she is surrounded by wild animals and big bad wolves during a doomsday lightning storm—actually farm livestock and dogs but the metaphor is clear. Meanwhile, in the bunk above her, Eleazar dreams of a devil complete with horns, tail, and glowing pink skin sauntering into mom and dad’s room with an ominous toolbox in hand. What follows is a series of ruminations—filmed in the box-like Academy ratio with prismatic visual effects—on the struggle between the dark and the light which focuses on a single middle class family with some serious problems: Rut, Eleazar, and their parents Juan and Natalia. Throughout it all Reygadas struggles to maintain that precarious balance between good and evil, or human kindness vs human foibles if you will, as he highlights the best and the worst in his larger cast of characters amid surreal visions of apocalypse and salvation—a macabre suicide and sanguineous rainstorm on one hand, a sunlit picnic and final embrace played to Neil Young’s “It’s A Dream” on the other. Semi-autobiographical (Rut and Eleazar are actually played by Reygadas’ own kids) and off-putting in its subjectivity (a non-sequitur involving an English boys’ rugby match is thrown in for no other reason that to show that teamwork is a good thing) this is sure to divide audiences despite the fact it netted Reygadas the Best Director award at Cannes. A masterwork of great depth and creativity or the kind of cinematic gobbledygook that wows arthouse crowds too intimidated to question its artistic integrity? Perhaps a more apt title would be "Pop-Corn et Prétention".
Major work by one of the world's most daring and striking film artists. Should be discussed. Yes, there are many parts that aren't obvious--but a group discussion experience would greatly enhance the take away for all involved.
Shot in the style of Terrence Malick, this Mexican/European art-house piece is hard for me to understand totally. So many disconnected episodes: the rugby match, the group sex in a bath-house, the geese hunting. I don't known why they were there and what purpose they served. However, if you keep an open mind, this is still a pretty interesting cinematic experience. In Spanish with subtitles.
Yuck. Waste of time.
Reygadas is such a bore; he seems to have seen a lot of Malick, a lot of Coen brothers and maybe some Bunuel too. The influences are there but they don't develop into something strong and vital. Avoid.
This film comes across mostly as some sort of self-indulgent exercise on the part of the director. A collage of visuals that are connected by little if no narrative and while some are beautiful nature scenes, most seem like the product of an amateurish home video, compounded with the irritating effect of the cinematographer using a very narrow lens, causing double images and blurring on the edges of the frames. Ultimately a very tedious exercise to be endured.
Typical art film - hardly anything happens, and I have no idea what the scenes set in Britain or Ireland are supposed to mean. But many of the scenes are beautiful, although I got tired of the weird lens that blurs the edges. Maybe the steambath brothel scene offended the viewers at Cannes? Time shifts were confusing too, but I was glad to see that the darling children grew up.
This was a very tedious, not easily understandable, confusing film which I stopped watching after a short time.
Group sex scene; scenes of nudity.
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