DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

After Yang

A couple scrambles to fix their android babysitter, to whom they have become strangely connected in more ways than one - enrapturing sci-fi tale starring Colin Farrell shows at Sundance

South-Korean American filmmeker Kogonada made a splash at Sundance five years ago with his debut feature Columbus, about the friendship between an architect scholar and an architect enthusiast. He’s now back with After Yang. His new, more ambitious film dips its toes into the realm of science fiction. The movie is set in a future where androids are routinely purchased and used for domestic tasks.

Jake (Colin Farrell) and Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) are the parents of an adopted Chinese girl Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja). They purchase a robotic family member called Yang (Justin H. Min), who acts as a big brother and babysitter to their daughter. He also teaches her about her heritage, something with which the Western couple have no personal experience. One day, Yang the “techno-sapien” becomes unresponsive, and his parts have been discontinued. Neither Mika nor Jake want him recycled, and so Jake attempts to to fix him. That’s when he learns some surprising details about Yang’s existence.

Colin Farrell has just become a more interesting actor as he ages. After Yang continues Farrell’s strong run of performances in recent years: it’s very much his journey of discovery. He briefly does a very convincing impression of Werner Herzog. The other three members of the family give strong performances, too. Min is the standout, despite being on the blink for much the film’s running time. He has an unearthly presence, and he makes a particularly strong impression in flashback scenes. His performance is somewhat reminiscent of Brent Spiner’s Data from television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, with Min bringing a real humanity to the “techno-sapien”. Haley Lu Richardson, who also appeared in Columbus, plays a mysterious stranger named after the Vladimir Nabokov novel Ada.

L.A. based Japanese composer ASKA signs the film score, enhanced by a Ryuichi Sakamoto theme. Japanese-American composer and songwriter Mitski covers the song Glide, which first appeared in the Japanese movie All About Lily Chou Chou (Shunji Iwai, 2001; a film about young people failing to connect in an alienated tech future).

After Yang is a beautiful sci-fi tale about grief, loss, and how we only value our personal connections after they literally disconnect. It will appeal to both genre fans and people who generally eschew science fiction for more conventional arthouse fare.

After Yang just showed at the Sundance Film Festival. It premiered last year in Cannes.


By Ian Schultz - 25-01-2022

Ian Schultz is a film writer based in Leeds, where he runs Psychotronic Cinema. He has been writing about films for about eight years, with articles and reviews appearing in Little White Lies and Live...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Sexual diversity is at the very heart of [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

One city, one planet, many films

 

Marina Hillquist - 23-07-2024

Marina Hillquist investigates the environmental impact of film production, and reveals how Gainesville (a city in Florida, United States) is leading the way [Read More...]

The dirtiest film characters of all time

 

Mariano Garcia - 22-07-2024

Some film characters are just so powerful that they defy time and space, and linger persistently in our memory (and in the history of cinema) - Mariano Garcia argues [Read More...]

The cinematic evolution of videogames

 

Tania Dickson - 22-07-2024

Tania Dickson looks back at the fairly young history of video games and unearths some uncanny similarities and affinities with the seventh art [Read More...]