After Yang: Colin Farrell is amazing in this magnificent science fiction film

The cinema release ofAfter Yang corrects an oversight. In 2017, Kogonada, known for his work analyzing films on the Internet, unveiled a first feature film, columbus. This intimate drama, against a backdrop of mourning and architecture, was overwhelming by its delicacy and the subtlety of its actors (John Cho, more vulnerable than ever). Passed directly by the VOD box in France, the film had all the same marked the spirits in the United States and revealed another facet of an American independent cinema, far from its old worn-out recipes and its flashy imagery.

It will have been necessary to wait until 2021, when the selection ofAfter Yang at the Cannes Film Festival in the “Un certain regard” category, to see Kogonada’s talent at work. An additional year for it to find a distributor in France, thanks to the efforts of Condor. But all this time will not have been in vain. Because the second film by the filmmaker of South Korean origin is as splendid as it is singular, offering science fiction a story of such emotion and serenity as he has rarely experienced in recent years.

In After Yang, Colin Farrell plays Jake, a family man and tea seller who faces an unexpected event in his life. The future has allowed the arrival of techno-sapiens, androids who assist humans in their daily lives. Yang is one of them, with the mission of helping Mika, a little girl of Chinese origin adopted by Jake and his wife, to keep a link with her roots. Yang is a friend, a confidant and a family member in his own right. When it breaks down, the family is destabilized. Jake will then do everything in his power to save Yang from decay.

What makes the uniqueness ofAfter Yang, in a genre where we thought we had told everything and seen everything, lies in Kogonada’s approach. Adapted from a short story by Alexander Weinstein, the film is an invitation to viewers to look with new eyes at what seems to them to be banal. Science fiction, in the first place, whose close connection with our anxious reality condemned it to depict the future only in a dystopian and hopeless form. But especially the objects themselves.

The young Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) will find in Yang (Justin H. Min) a faithful friend but also the one who will allow her to understand where she comes from.A24 / Everett Collection