The fourth film from Mexican director Carlos Reygadas after ‘Japón’, ‘Battle in Heaven’ and ‘Silent Light’ is his most experimental yet. It tells of a well-off family in rural Mexico, newly arrived from the city – Juan (Adolfo Jiménez Castro), his wife Natalia (Nathalia Acevedo) and their two young kids. But the film takes a card-shuffle approach to time and place from beginning to end. One minute, we’re watching Juan and Natalia deal with creeping middle age and problems at home; the next we’re dealing with flashes forward and backward to rugby matches at an English school, an orgy in an European spa or a dream involving a Pink Panther-like red devil. The film’s said to be autobiographical, but that’s entirely left to us to guess.
Sort-of clear are the themes of ‘Post Tenebras Lux’ – psychological and geographical dislocation and the weight of the past on the present – even if its events are not. Maybe you have to see Reygadas’s film – which won him the Best Director prize at last year’s Cannes – twice even to begin to understand it. But whether you will surely will depend on your appetite for his oblique style of storytelling.