Edgar Cochran’s review published on Letterboxd:
WARNING. THIS IS A REVIEW THAT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE.
Since I first met Reygadas until the day I die, I shall always defend this tremendous cinema master with sword and shield against the modern mainstream perspectives of moviewatching and against those people, that, incessantly, keep insulting not only Reygadas, but also his fans. Proudly, I have been called around 10 insulting names and courses, and I'm proud of it. You will play dirty, I will play dirty too: Reygadas is a master and his films are masterpieces whether you like it or not. FACT. You feel envious and frustrated because of your deplorable and laughable incapacity to raise to the surface your dead ability to appreciate art and transform it into a complimentary contribution to your own existence and to your unique perspective of the Universe, FACT.
For those finding an inherent impossibility to relate to his films and to find meaningful or valuable content, my opinion is, obviously, not a fact. And that is a fact.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
- Ephesians 6:12
With an intrusive array of metaphysical, mysterious, terrifying, beautiful, absorbing and unforgettable imagery, Reygadas, the winner of the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival of 2012, once again confirms himself to be the Antichrist of religious idolatry, not necessarily from an atheistic point of view, and analyzes the primal conflicts of the human condition with impeccable artistry and a haunting audiovisual detail with a naturalism that almost becomes tangible to the viewer, and undeniable to the soul.
The core of this constantly shifting amalgamation of dreams, reality, allegories, of the spiritual wickedness and the rulers of this dark world, is a family of European family bonds (that's a theory) that is forced to fight, singlehandedly, against the hypocritical class struggle in a hostile rural setting, while the viewer is given symbolic hints of the evil entities that might be orchestrating this nightmarish chain of horrible acts for shaking the life of a family; hence, given the striking similarities I perceived with the tale of Job:
"And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
- Job 2:2
Some unexplainable wizardry is applied in order to make a striking cacophony of the terrifying and the beautiful, of the real and the unreal. The two opening scenes remain as the most iconic:
1) A girl running through a field with animals circling around her. She happily calls the names of the animals, and the names of her closest acquaintances as if she was dreaming. It is later confirmed by her that she was dreaming, but maybe that was a dream too, or simply a fantasy of a dream. Levels of reality here are not clear. As dusk approaches, animals begin to run away scared while threatening thunders darken the sky and surround the daughter completely by tenebras.
2) A glowing demon enters into the house carrying something, slowly gliding through the bedrooms corridor until it closes the door as the kid watches curious.
These two scenes should have left something very clear to the viewer since the very beginning:
A) It was a film about conflicts, maybe from a spiritual perspective, that attempted to speak directly to the soul. The soul and the mind never come to terms of agreement. It was, therefore, a movie aimed towards the soul, which is capable of comprehending what the mind cannot.
B) Reygadas would most probably never have the intentions of clearly identifying the realms. That is your job. Nobody can compel you, of course, so that was the chance you had to walk away.
For those that stayed and loved the experience will tell you exactly one same thing: they didn't understand it. But they felt it. In that way, it becomes meaningful.
-It becomes meaningful to see a red demon in the house: "And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life." Job 2:6
-It becomes meaningful to see a family victim of not only domestic abuse because of class racism, but also of internal marital conflicts.
-It becomes meaningful to see somebody lose his head.
-It becomes meaningful to see everything from such a compromising, minimalist perspective, where sex and violence become intrusive monsters.
-It becomes meaningful to realize that, despite the apparent peacefulness of nature, nature itself is the most chaotic cycle of the planet.
-It becomes meaningful to know that not everything must be rationalized.
It becomes meaningful to change the film's title in the way you like, just like I did:
Post Tenebras Spero Lucem. "After Darkness, I Hope for Light."