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  • Writer's pictureStrictly Films

After Yang (2022 Sundance Film Festival); Grade: B

Strictly Films welcomes you back to more coverage of this years 2022 Sundance Film Festival! Our next film on the block: After Yang.

After Yang takes place in the futuristic world, where it features A.I. Robots that appear to look like real human beings. These Robots were designed to help those families whom adopt children of foreign countries, to acquire a robot that is a bigger sibling to help the younger child learn about their culture and such, so they can be much more comfortable despite their parents being a different race. Here we have a family that has an A.I. Robot named Yang (Justin H. Min), Yang is loved by the family more so Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) as the opening sequence features the family dancing in some kind of competition game. Unfortunately Yang breaks down completely, as the father of the family Jake (Colin Farrell) immensely tries within everything in his power to get Yang fixed. As Jake goes on this journey to hope to revive Yang, Jake will learn about Yang as he’s a rare kind of A.I., where he does hold memories lasting three seconds, as Yang appears to be more human than robot as Yang actually had experience life.

After Yang was obviously my most anticipated film of Sundance by far, not only does it have A24 and Colin Farrell attached to the project, it also has an up and coming film maker Kogonada whom I really enjoyed his feature debut Columbus. After Yang I believe is a film that’ll improve with rewatches, as though I’m not blown away by it from a first viewing, it however leaves a personal impression with me.

After Yang from a story standpoint is not your typical everyday Sci-Fi film, it’s more a deep personal drama that has deep themes about what it is to be a human being. I felt while watching Yang as we go through some flashbacks and dive deep behind his system that holds countless amount of memory space, it felt as if I was feeling that life can be described as quick flashes of memories. Memories in which can be described as meaningful in some degree, whether it’s a moment or scenery, that memory lasts forever as if you’re fortunate enough like Yang it’ll be placed inside your mind as the quick three second loop, will be more than enough to remember that memory thoroughly. After Yang is such a unique tale about life, human beings, and even about race as there are moments which we get confused on what exactly makes one entitled a race?! Aren’t we all just categorized in the human race, as we shouldn’t pay too much to mind on race, as we should be more concern with experiencing life?! It felt that way when Yang was utterly confused on what makes him Asian, as he’s a robot and felt he was like one of us without feeling entitled to be in a particular race. After all: Race was designed to teach human beings though we look different by appearance, we’re all the same as we’re here to share and love our cultures together… It’s beautiful, human beings make it a lot more complicated than it is but they’ll get there eventually.

After Yang was a wonderfully beautiful looking film, the way this film is shot in this futuristic world with a limited budget looks pretty great and feels accurate on what the future could come. I do like the technology additions to the film as well, it has a nice mixture of cool gadgets while it’s not necessarily screaming fear that drastic changes will be endured in the near future where humanity is completely lost. Solid performances all around by the entire cast, you felt the emotion and turmoil within the characters, as though Yang is a robot… He still felt like a person and played a significant part in people’s lives not just the small family as well. Also After Yang quite honestly has the coolest opening dance sequence… The music, the title sequences, the neon lighting, the dances… So superb.

After Yang does suffer from pacing issues, you could also say I didn’t really care for the ending much as it just abruptly ends out of the blue. I think once I see this film in a theater I think it’ll improve, for now it’s a film worth admiring as it’s a lovely personal story.

Overall, After Yang was a solid film. I recommend checking this one out, definitely a film worth seeing in a theater it’s definitely an experience. -Mitch Smietana

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