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  • Writer's pictureSteve

After Yang (2021)

What is it about crap dancing that is so uncomfortable? After watching Fresh yesterday, where it happens more than once, even as the opening credits rolled here, they're at it again. This time in some near-future interactive family dance-off. Farrell has never been notorious for his 'moves' and that is evident here. He won't be playing John Travolta in his inevitable biopic, I expect.

If you're here because of the sci-fi, I hope you're good at holding your breath, because this is the near future in spite of and not because of technology and the director is at pains to point this out by only flirting with what may come, resisting the urge to take away from the real story of an appreciation of life and your connections to your family, friends and the world around you.

The last time we saw a feature presentation from director Kogonada was 2017's Columbus, which also dedicates the majority of its time examining humanity, though maybe not as obviously as he does here. Here there is an almost polar opposite example to conjure against, the technosapiens, one of which, Yang, is living in the family home before its untimely and plot-pertinent breakdown.

The visuals here are often heart-stoppingly beautiful to behold and Kogonada's choice of placement is always intriguing and sometimes, but not always, creative. The colour palette he uses deliberately feels natural and organic with a score that rarely over-rides what is seen. The eastern, almost oriental, design nurtures respect, consideration and transcendence. The zen-like calm liberally scattered across the whole film is difficult to ignore and like a decent cup of tea, can be cathartic and relaxing.

Unsurprisingly, the performances are all understated, but no less admirable for that, and as for an example of how we treat each other, it may take something like this to confirm our treatment of others who are almost, but not quite like, ourselves. In that respect, Yang is a perfect foil for our own global and personal potential.

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