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‘Post Tenebras Lux’

by Giovanni Fazio

If you wanted to make a parody of the modern art film, you’d have a hard time making it more ridiculous than Carlos Reygadas’ glacially paced, obtuse, festival-focused film “Post Tenebras Lux,” which somehow won him Best Director at Cannes in 2012.

Poetic long-take landscape shots with a solitary human dwarfed by the splendor of nature? Check. Pretentious Latin title? Check. Cinematography that’s blurry and doubled along the edges so that it looks like the projectionist made a lens mistake? Check. Gratuitous “transgressive” sex? Check. Continuous shifts in time, place and character that are almost impossible to follow? Check. Random scenes of a British rugby game (despite the film’s story being set in rural Mexico)? Check.

This is more impaired than experimental — the work of a director unable or unwilling to communicate his ideas to an audience. It all builds to a climax where one protagonist suddenly pops his own head off — the viewer will feel like doing the same.