Yet another year with yet another update.
2012 version can be found here.
2013 version can be found here.
Johan and his family are Mennonites from the north of Mexico. Against the law of God and Man, Johan falls in love with another woman.
I was rather amused that my wife and I were tricked into watching Mexican director Carlos Reygadas’ Silent Light by our friend Caker Baker. Kind of like tricking someone into watching Bella Tarr’s The Turin Horse. I like that kind of mean humor.
Reading afterwards, they say that Reygadas is most heavily influenced by Dreyer and Tarkovsky. I haven’t seen anything by Dreyer yet, although Ordet has been on the shelf for some time, and as far as Tarkovsky, from my limited exposure his lush visuals are matched with wordy philosophising. Silent Light is the antithesis of wordy. No, for my money, this guy is Tarr minus the dire hopelessness.
You can tell right from the beautiful opening sequence of…
I was having a long, hard, stressful week, and this film was exactly what I needed. so much comforting warmth, humanism, poetry, etc. I think it captures something that's really elusive and hard to feel in real life, much less in movies, which is the weight you feel as time passes around you when you're freed of the distractions of modern life. an incredibly spiritual film I can see myself returning to many times.
now I'm still not sure if I like Post Tenebras Lux or not, and I think this film really illuminates many of that film's flaws. where Post Tenebras Lux is sort of a smattering of ideas that never get formed into something bigger, Stellet Licht is…
Silent Light is a remarkable film, magnificent in scope and cinematic prowess of the highest order. It seems as though I cannot applaud Carlos Reygadas enough.
Reygadas is a self proclaimed fan of Danish grand master Carl Theodor Dreyer and his inspiration drawn from him is undeniable. Some have went as far as to claim Reygadas may even be a borderline plagiarist in these regards. (Spoilers for those who have seen Ordet and not this film) The finale of this film mirroring almost nearly to the exact shot placement and set decor of Dreyer's Ordet let alone its content. But other than that and the fact of both films centering in a strict religious society (although religion not playing as…
Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light opens with a full five-minute unbroken shot of the sun rising in a time lapse. I am aware that I'm prone to hyperbole often, but it is one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a film, and viewing it in the darkness late at night I felt tears welling up at the sheer wonder of this cinematic collision of beautiful framing and warming lighting. It is an opening shot of enviable perfection.
The film is the story of a devoutly religious, married man whose dedication to God is rendered distraught and paralysed by his passionate affair with a younger woman (who at times looks intriguingly similar to his wife) with whom he has…
“I’d give anything to turn back time . . . go back to things as they used to be.”
I wanted to let some time pass before watching Stellet Licht, knowing that it was largely inspired of and influenced by Carl Th. Dreyer's 1955 masterpiece Ordet which I had been profoundly moved by almost one year ago. Whilst Mexican auteur Carols Reygadas borrows heavily from said film, he has appropriated specific elements to deliver an equally profound and poetic masterpiece.
Set in a Mennonite community in Mexico, Reygadas applies a neorealist touch to the proceedings by using non-actors, natural lighting, languid pacing and minimal dialogue to invite us into an almost sacred space and worldview, where the hand of God…
"Peace is stronger than love."
This is the way that the greatest of stories are meant to be told, with keen attention to detail, overwhelmingly beautiful visuals, spiritual subtext, and the opportunity for audiences to interpret as they please.
Two of the most important (and very much connected) moments in the film concern the phenomenon that we humans call time, with a focus on the setting of clocks; if you're at all confused by the existential climax of Silent Light, think deeply about these two moments and the answers may come to you.
Certain images, I will never forget;
the soulful sky, the purple flower, the blue umbrella.
I remain in awe.
Like Bresson before him (not to say that…
Stunningly beautiful, but the content is as infuriating as the style is perfected. It's strange to watch a wholeheartedly defense for patriarchy and the lack of empathy for women abuse in 2007.
Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light has won numerous awards and the praise of the vast majority of critics, seen as a beautiful contemplation on life, faith, and redemption. I watched the film with a group of about 9 intelligent thoughtful people, and I was the only one who wasn't moved.
So I'm guessing the problem is me: perhaps the trend of "minimalist" films, which seem to echo the works of Bresson or Dreyer, is what really rubs me the wrong way. Where most adherents see a leisurely pace and a contemplative air, I see pretension and unnecessary shots. I just am not a fan of the genre.
First of all, there seems to be a contempt shown by the "movement" for…
There are some films for which beautiful seems a totally inadequate descriptor. Silent Light (dir. Carlos Reygaldas) is one of them. Having seen only Post Tenebras, Lux before this, which came across as frequently rapturous (that opening scene!) but also frequently indulgent and unformed, Silent Light immediately showed itself as more restrained--not that it shied away from long, slow-moving takes and lengthy sequences where not much happens; the difference is that here, they serve a larger purpose. What Reygaldas creates is a highly specific tone poem, one that revels in the landscape and details in a way that is reminiscent of Terrence Malick. There is a balance of elements in Silent Light that is hard to pin down, but…
Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light is a peculiar but extraordinary film. The winner of the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, it was filmed in a Mennonite colony in Northern Mexico, and dialogue is spoken in Plautdietsch, the language of the low-German Mennonites. Set in a Mennonite community, it tells of the story of a married man who falls in love with another woman, and the inner turmoil this brings him and those around him.
Reygadas used non-professional actors who lived in the community (there is really only one very minor instance in which this does not work) and in the hands of any other director, it would have been a realistic portrayal of life in that area with…
Silent Light traces the imperceptible reverberations of a guilty conscience, in this case that of a Mennonite farmer in Mexico torn between his extramarital affair and his faith. Writer-director Carlos Reygadas favors scenes in which the camera ever-so-gradually closes in on an object, which is also how the farmer’s betrayal works: no one notices the pain they’re swimming in until it’s suddenly staring them in the face.
Full review here.
I'm one of the few people who deeply appreciated Reygadas works despite all the negative responses his works have received, they were mostly contemplated as "pretentious" and "tedious" films. Art has no limit, no matter how you maintain criticising it. The wonderful opening sequence where the camera magnifies and keeps focusing on the beautiful landscape, what does this sequence exactly signify? As I constantly say, the answers are not fundamental, even if you maintain attempt to decipher it, you will fail miserably.
I'm one of the few people who deeply appreciated Reygadas works despite all the negative responses his works have received, they were all called "pretentious", "boring" or even films that don't make sense at all. "Art" has no limit like your modern Hollywood senseless films.
Anyone not indebted to the two great cinematic creditors of the 20th century, Jean Renoir and Jean Vigo, should not be making films. I'm talking to you Reygadas, Wenders, Weerasethakul, and even Ceylan. This is by no means an anti-'slow' cinema diatribe as the legacy of Vigo and Renoir very much remains present, on the other hand, in the work of Alonso, Martel, and Costa.
Another year, another update. 2012 List can be found here.
The following is a really extensive and great list of…
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the festival began in 1946.…