First and foremost an apology is due to Neil Young, at least from me, because I don’t imagine for one minute that Carlos Reygadas would apologise. Perhaps we should call him ‘Nil Yung’, too, as Juan does in Post Tenebras Lux, “Otra fez Nill Jung”.
Reygadas burrows into the intimacies of relationships, and what emerges is a complex pap of conflicting emotions. In this scene, a dying husband asks his wife to play him a favourite song (‘again’). She sings painfully off key. He joins in for the chorus. Despite everything else we know about these people’s inadequacies, this has to be a tear-jerking scene. Life is a dream, and it’s over now.
I was sorry I couldn’t cry when I tried to learn this song, I was concentrating too hard on being able to play at least some of the notes. It’s not a faithful copy, but I hope it inspires some twang of repulsion and pity, swirled in together, and in this if nothing else, be a tribute to the master of mixed feelings.
Katie Jackson is co-director of The Suitcase Cinema, a mobile fantasia of 16mm screenings and workshops.