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directed by Carlos Reygadas
Mexico/France/Netherlands/Germany 2012

 

Whether the reflections of a dying man or a look in the dreams and subconscious fears of the film's handful of characters, Carlos Reygadas' POST TENEBRAS LUX - which translates as "light after darkness" - is stuffed full of compelling images, as ravishing as they are sometimes repulsive. The "story" follows the lives of "New Age architect" Juan (Adolfo Jiménez Castro), his wife Natalia (Nathalia Acevedo), and their children living in the Mexican countryside in pursuit of an idealized way of living. Class conflicts with his handyman and the locals simmer under the surface (a former alcoholic who introduces Juan to the local addicts support group where he can't help but stand out as something akin to the local gentry) and may actually have very little to do with the film's climactic tragedy. The film instead focuses on the more obvious tensions within the family including Juan's rage issues (which he takes out on the family's female dog), his internet porn addition, and his frustration with his wife's supposed frigidity (is their holiday visit to a French sex sauna an attempt to rectify this or something imagined by him or her). Their daughter's opening sequence dream intimates a fear the child herself cannot communicate or herself comprehend, and the son's dream or hallucination of a CGI red devil (simultaneously laughable and unnerving) prowling their home at night suggests that even the children are not unaffected by these and other tensions.

With repeat viewings I grew to like Reygada's SILENT LIGHT (I still have not attempted a viewing of JAPON), but I suspect POST TENEBRAS LUX will not go up in my estimation if I viewed it a third time. Carlos Reygada's fourth film might be a pretentious blunder, an attempt by Reygadas to do something akin to TO THE WONDER/THE TREE OF LIFE-period Terence Malick. Despite, however, the arthouse cachet this Mexico /France /Netherlands /Germany co-production trades in (despite being booed at Cannes), it seems not to demand its audience divine its significance (if any) even as it may frustrate those like myself grasping for a sense of narrative.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 23 November 2012 (Mexico)

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Comparison:

Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the DVD Review!

1) Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

Strand Releasing

Region 1 - NTSC

Drakes Avenue

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Strand Releasing

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:55:12 1:54:44.583 1:54:52.260
Video

1.30:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 3.86 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 23,825,446,689 bytes

Feature Size: 21,508,491,264 bytes

Average Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Disc Size: 36,016,481,578 bytes

Feature Size: 24,395,341,824 bytes

Average Bitrate: 26.60 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Bitrate Region 'B'  Blu-ray

Bitrate Region 'A'  Blu-ray

Audio English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo LPCM Audio Spanish 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 3864 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3864 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -7dB
Subtitles English (burnt-in) English, none English (non-removable)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Strand Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.30:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer (16:9; 1:42)
• Trailers for 'White Elephant', 'In the Fog', 'Paradise: Love', 'Paradise: Faith', and 'Paradise:
• Hope'

DVD Release Date: August 20th, 2013
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Drakes Avenue

 

Disc Size: 23,825,446,689 bytes

Feature Size: 21,508,491,264 bytes

Average Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Carlos Reygadas Interview (7:34)
• Nathalia Acevedo Interview (3:57)

• Trailer (1:43)

Blu-ray Release Date: July 22nd, 2013
Amaray

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio:
Strand Releasing

 

Disc Size: 36,016,481,578 bytes

Feature Size: 24,395,341,824 bytes

Average Bitrate: 26.60 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Deleted Scenes (5:32)
• Video Diary (32:58)

• Trailer (1:39)

• Strand Trailers

Blu-ray Release Date:
December 10th, 2013
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION - Strand Releasing - Region 'A' Blu-ray - December 8th, 2013: The North American release is more robust with a higher bitrate and superior black levels. We have also been informed that:

"This is the only Blu-ray release to have certain scenes re-color graded and approved by Carlos Reygadas. In the other versions both scenes with the devil are lit incorrectly in one specific shot. These have been corrected in this Blu-ray release with Carlos’ help.

Unfortunately the audio is standard Dolby 5.1 (not lossless) and the transfer doesn't take advantage of that particular attribute of the new format. So separations were not as crisp as the UK release but it still sounded beautiful. There are mandatory English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked release.

The Deleted Scenes are exclusive to this release. There are almost 6-minutes worth and some will find the Video Diary interesting.

Great to see this is region 'A' and looking that much richer. An easy recommendation for those, in North America, willing to venture to this style of cinema!  

***

ADDITION - Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' Blu-ray - September 2013: I was intrigued when Eric reviewed the DVD and am so glad to have, finally, seen this film in 1080P. It is such a visual experience that it really lends itself to viewing in the higher resolution - especially with the photographic effects utilized in the cinematography (clouded edges of the frame etc.). Although only single-layered the Blu-ray is almost 5 X the bitrate of the SD. For a film of this nature I'd say that makes all the difference in the world.

As well as the linear 2.0 channel track we do get a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3864 kbps (both in Spanish) that exports some, keen, separations adding to the visual experience. There are optional English subtitles , in a large font, on the UK Blu-ray disc.

Extras also go the way of the Drakes Avenue with 2 shortish, separate, interviews with Carlos Reygadas and Nathalia Acevedo plus a trailer.

I found Post Tenebras Lux a fascinating piece of... art - akin to poetry. It touches themes of love, family through Mexican urban life, nature and so much more, This Blu-ray is absolutely recommended! 

***

ON THE DVD: Strand's single-layer disc features a progressive transfer that frames the 1.37:1 frame in a 16:9 pillarboxed window. The bitrate is very low for a near two-hour film (the feature takes of 3.25 GB of the 3.82 total), and the image is rather flat-looking as a result (more's the pity considering the ravishing visuals). The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (although the back cover says 5.1) is atmospheric and forceful when needed, but not as impressive as a 5.1 track would be at giving an enveloping sense of environment here. The error-free English subtitles are burnt-in.

The film's trailer is the only extra other than five trailer for other upcoming Strand releases.

  - Eric Cotenas


Menus

Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC
 

 

 

1) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray LEFT

2) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM


Subtitle sample  /uncropped frame on the DVD

 


1) Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Drakes Avenue - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

Strand Releasing

Region 1 - NTSC

Drakes Avenue

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Strand Releasing

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 




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