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Reygadas' "Silent Light" Will Receive Theatrical Release... Absolutely, Maybe

by Anthony Kaufman
July 10, 2008 3:28 AM
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This post is no longer necessarily true. Please read UPDATE.

In the current rollarcoaster ride that is art-house distribution, nothing is certain, but it appears that Carlos Reygadas's Mexican-Mennonite, Dreyer-inspired opus "Silent Light" will receive a belated theatrical engagement this winter. Acquired by Tartan Films's U.S. arm sometime after its Cannes 2007 premiere, critics have been salivating over a release ever since. When Tartan went bankrupt, the entire library was bought out by Palisades Media Corp, a finishing-funds and P&A financing company with no direct experience in distribution.

But according to a mass emailed press release that went out yesterday, "Palisades hopes to start releasing new [Tartan] titles this winter in the US beginning with a host of Asia Extreme titles." In a follow-up email, I asked about the fate of "Silent Light" and was told it would "absolutely receive a theatrical screening now," with, of course, one caveat: "but everything is still TBD."

After viewing the film at Cannes '07, I wrote in indieWIRE:

Carlos Reygadas' "Silent Light" examines an adulterous relationship in a Mennonite community in Mexico. Opening with a breathtaking shot of the night-sky opening itself up to the emerging sun, the film focuses on a rarefied farming community, steeped in prayer and simple ways of life. Exceedingly languorous, "Silent Light" finally turns a significant corner a full hour and forty-five minutes into the film. (Until then, the movie offered sleepy Cannes attendees much-needed nap-time during long takes of corn harvesting.) But by then, it may be too late. While the last 30 minutes builds to a quietly startling finale, clearly influenced by Carl Theodore Dreyer's masterpiece "Ordet," "Silent Light" lacks that film's profound humanity and catharsis. And yet, even though the bold young director of "Japon" and "Battle in Heaven" may have stumbled with "Silent Light," his exquisite sensibility still shines through.

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