DVD: Silent Light (Reygadas, 2007)

This second time seeing Silent Light was a lot more relaxing than the first. The bath in the lake is somehow hypnotically perfect. I always thought that scenes involving bathing or washing had a strange lulling effect that comforts me to the point of nearly falling asleep. I’m not sure what it is. The same happens for me in the disgusting dirty bath scene near the end of Gummo, the lone good thing in that movie. Shampooing hair just does it for me, I guess.

But the bathing scene here is only one of many entrancing moments in this impossibly huge artistic improvement over Reygadas’ slimy, pretentious Battle in Heaven. Not that Silent Light doesn’t have its pretentious moments. I can think of several, actually; the out-of-focus track into a pink flower being the most ‘huh?’ Most of the tracks I felt an awareness of the aspect ratio that I thought was something new. Reygadas often tracks the camera, with its very wide 2.35:1 ratio, into narrow doorways, making me feel as if I am squishing into the space.

I also appreciated his use of clocks more this time. Stopping the clock in the kitchen at the beginning of the film, beeping wristwatch at the news of a character’s death, starting a clock at the moment of SPOILER resurrection END SPOILER. The film has a huge interest in time, daylight, and maybe even vampirism, and I admit that I still haven’t put it all together, but it is still a great thing to see, and a great example of magical realism in contemporary cinema.