Lucifer - Festival Review
Lucifer, composed in a claustrophobic sphere using tondoscope, is astoundingly gorgeous, occasionally funny, and regularly boring. I prefer a slow film, but Lucifer postures in incredulous length over ideas and inevitabilities that have been spun to death by the 30-minute mark, and which continues for nearly another hour thirty. The cinematography, though pretty, rides a sole note, and you’ll wish there were more substance and storytelling behind the image.
It follows Lucifer’s journey to a rural Mexican village with no resonating characters and an undeveloped personality. Village folk send their religious discoveries to the populace via a rotating speaker, which is a big detail to cling to, because you’ll receive little else. They need God, or an angel, something, to come down and solve their issues, but what are they? Everyone has their own petty problems. Perhaps that’s why the fallen angel Lucifer has come and gone leaving ripples in his wake.
But it all goes on way too long. We know exactly what Lucifer will do to charm the villagers. He will take advantage of the farmer Emanuel’s feigned paralysis and himself feign healing powers. But my god does everything get stretched out, the scenario seems to play out a good twenty minutes too long. It’s easy to imagine Lucifer cut down to a short film, and it wouldn’t lose an ounce for it. It’d be more effective, and we wouldn’t have to watch the film watch itself for the extra hour.
Lucifer is so often pretty for the sake of being it. It has interesting formal elements and gorgeous cinematography that would’ve supported a story we cared about, but too often feels like the faux-art equivalent of watching a beautiful person smile at themselves in the mirror... For two damn hours.