Filmed in the Mexican countryside, Post Tenebras Lux has some of the most beautiful, haunting scenes I've ever seen in a film. But if you asked me what I actually saw as a whole, I'd have no idea what to say.
Partly autobiographical, but also filled with sequences that are entirely fantasy, it feels like a series of vignettes that are connected in the most tangential way possible. Ostensibly, the protagonist is Juan, one of the wealthiest men in his village. He's supposed to be complicated, but there's no quicker way to turn your audience against the lead than to see him mercilessly beating a dog.
Though he occasionally recognizes his own awfulness, it's hard to tell if he ever achieves something approaching redemption. That's mainly because the film is presented out of order, which is the trope I'm most sick of lately. Unless you've got a sharp script, non-chronological films only serve to confound the audience and give the appearance of artistic intent. It comes off as pretentious, especially when the film also indulges another pet peeve of mine: lots of seemingly improvised scenes followed by lots of silence. Just write some quality dialogue!
Post Tenebras Lux could easily play at a museum, but it's not going to play well at a movie theater, even an indie one. That's because it's not enjoyable, it's not challenging. It's only frustrating. A scene at an orgy and another at a rugby game appear to have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the story. They're filmed in bracingly long takes, but like the movie in total, completely meaningless.
At a scene at a party, one older gentleman says, "We keep waiting for something to happen. Sitting and waiting." I knew exactly how he felt.