AFTER YANG (#SUNDANCE2022)
With a melancholic exploration of loss, life, and what it means to be human, writer/director Kogonada delivers a pensive gem of a film in After Yang.
When his daughter’s android Yang (Justin H. Min) stops functioning, Jake (Colin Farrell) attempts to get him repaired, but instead finds himself pondering life as through introspection as he reconnects with his wife Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) and daughter Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja). Kogonada delivers a truly human story in a simplistic futuristic setting that allows the characters to shine. Farrell quarterbacks the majority of the film’s developments with a serene, mature performance that sets the tone. Turner-Smith is equally as impactful in her moments of personal reflection and care for their daughter, played by the young and incredibly talented Tjandrawidjaja. Through the lens of the families elongated dealing with loss, After Yang delivers a powerful, thought-provoking drama.
The film’s simplicity leads to viewers focusing on the intent of the plot, the human emotions and elements, with a coherence and directness that elevates the entire film. In between the fantastic performances are alluring cinematic visuals capturing the beauty of the setting upon which the story unfolds. Though some may take issue with the one-note tone of the film, I’d argue it is intentionally built to allow for the space to experience the emotional journey with the characters. It’s quite remarkable and, in the end, a standout.
Photo from Sundance