After the Apocalypse

Reviewed By Scott Weinberg
Posted 03/06/04 18:07:27

"I may not fully UNDERSTAND it, but that doesn't mean I can't LIKE it."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Just recently I participated in an argument about what it is that makes something an "Art Movie". Since I'm the type who hates pigeonholing movies into specific genres or categories, I bristled at the idea of there being one catch-all classification of "Art Movie". But Yasuaki Nakajima's 'After the Apocalypse' is most art movie.

And by "art movie" I basically mean that the film is abstract and vague and perhaps more interested in inciting the senses than it is in telling a straight narrative that goes from A to Z in relatively familiar style. The sort of movie that has practically no dialogue, is lensed in stark black & white, and runs about 70 minutes. The sort of stuff you see at film festivals and pretty much nowhere else.

That's exactly what After the Apocalypse is, and it's a fairly compelling piece of artwork in its own right...whatever label you choose to put on it. Basically we're given a handful of human survivors; we don't know precisely what it is that they've survived, but obviously it was on a global scale and it wasn't pretty.

Each of the survivors display remnants of basic human emotion, and we're witness to the way in which our species might have to interact were they stripped of everything but their most animal instincts. (These survivors, don't forget, cannot speak.) Our post-modern cavemen rediscover the best and worst of human interaction, from compassion and loyalty to jealousy and hatred, with a few dashes of animal lust to help stir the pot.

Evoking the sort of vibe you'd find in the old-school silent movies, the ones in which an actor would have to 'overplay' it a little (with some help from a dramatic musical score) in order to sell the scene, After the Apocalypse is a challenging and slowly engaging little 'art flick'.

Watching a film like this is similar to finding yourself transfixed by a specific painting after your girlfriend drags you to the art museum. It's odd and offbeat and certainly not what you're normally used to...but you find yourself enamored with it all the same.

And indeed, it's the sort of movie that one only finds at the film festivals.

Which is why I love going to film festivals so much.

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