AFTER BLUE (PARADIS SALE-DIRTY PARADISE)
(director/writer: Betrand Mandico; cinematographer: Pascale Granel; editor: George Cragg/Laure Saint-Marc; music:Pierre Desprats; cast: Elina Löwensohn (Zora), Paula Luna (Roxy), Vimala Pons (Sternberg), Agata Buzec (Kate Bush); Runtime: 127; MPAA Rating: NR; producer; Emmanuel Chaumet: Ecce Films; 2021-France-in French with English subtitles)
“If you’re up to looking for a different kind of cinematic experience, one you don’t have to dress up for, this one is it.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A playful, self-indulgent, campy, lesbian, otherworldly sci-fi fantasy film, created for the avant-garde crowd. It’s weirdly directed and written by Betrand Mandico (“The Wild Boys”) with no apparent purpose but for your viewing pleasure. If anything, it’s a trippy, fascinating and unusual visual acid western/sci-fi experience that might just be too hard to label.
It’s set in the distant future after the Earth has been abandoned, as humans now live on a planet called After Blue (the place looks as if washed from the sea). Don’t ask why, but it’s a place where only women can survive, as all the men have died for some reason.
The trick of surviving seems to be that women are safeguarded by being artificially inseminated with sperm from the Earth. The ladies left to their own devices have created for themselves a new society, where they feel free to walk around in the nude caressing themselves. They inhabit a place where you take in an eye-popping scenery that’s tantalizing and much alive. It also has some grotesque creeping creatures around for those with ghoulish needs. On top of that there’s a haunting musical score by Pierre Desprats.
The story focuses on the hairdresser Zora (Elina Löwensohn) and her teenage daughter Roxy (Paula Luna). The pair are ostracized from their settlement after Roxy unwittingly saves from being buried in the sand the life of the gun-toting killer criminal Kate Bush (Agata Bush), without knowing she’s a wanted serial killer. We then catch the pair as they fend for themselves on this prohibited island of strangeness, as there’s a bounty hunt for the criminal.
The story seems to be merely an inexplicable celebration of life without men, and as far as I could detect it has nothing more to say about anything than telling the viewer to roll with the excesses in life.
If you’re up to looking for a different kind of cinematic experience, one you don’t have to dress up for, this one is it. I could take it or leave it, even if it was too long at two hours. For me, it was like trying a new dish you will probably only have once and probably never crave for again–but it’s different and tempting, so why not give it a try!
REVIEWED ON 9/25/2021 GRADE: B-