After The Apocalypse

Despite the title, Queens-based filmmaker Yasuaki Nakajima's nano-budget sci-fi feature is less a thriller than a social drama in the tradition of FIVE (1951) and THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL (1959), in which a small group of men and women must rebuild their lives after some catastrophe. In this case, the apocalyptic event is a third world war, and...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Despite the title, Queens-based filmmaker Yasuaki Nakajima's nano-budget sci-fi feature is less a thriller than a social drama in the tradition of FIVE (1951) and THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL (1959), in which a small group of men and women must rebuild their lives after some catastrophe. In this case, the apocalyptic event is a third world war, and when Nakajima's unnamed protagonist (played by Nakajima himself) emerges from his cellar bunker, he finds a world in ruins. He picks through the rubble looking for food and water; after curling up next to the naked woman he's drawn on the concrete, he rolls over and tumbles into the water. He's rescued by a raggedy man (Zorikh Lequidre) who pulls him to shore, dries him off and shows him how to catch fish using a hockey stick. While feasting on the catch of the day, they're joined by a clownish man (Moises Morales) in a plaid sport coat who juggles in order to prove that he means them no harm. Later, our hero spots a pretty, childlike woman (Jacqueline Bowman) with pigtails who's excited about having found an abandoned doll. He watches her paint the doll in her shelter, but realizes that she's the raggedy man's woman when he suddenly appears and jealously shoos him away. When the clown also tries to befriend the woman, the raggedy man beats him with his hockey stick. The clown dies shortly afterward, which doesn't stop our man from returning to the woman's shelter and later making love to her. When he realizes she's pregnant he's thrilled, but the raggedy man is fit to kill — unless the illness that's slowly creeping through their bodies doesn't do the job first. The twist that makes Nakajima's film more interesting than it might have been is that whatever killed everyone else on the planet has left the five survivors speechless; like preverbal primitive humans, they must communicate without spoken language. Nakajima got the idea from personal experience when, as a non-English speaking tourist in Australia, he was forced to communicate without words, and his experiment here is surprisingly successful. Nakajima shot on 16 mm black-and-white film — a refreshing alternative to video — and his use of actual locations rather than constructed sets reveals an interesting, if disturbing, irony: Our present world stands in quite convincingly for a postapocalyptic landscape.

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  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Despite the title, Queens-based filmmaker Yasuaki Nakajima's nano-budget sci-fi feature is less a thriller than a social drama in the tradition of FIVE (1951) and THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL (1959), in which a small group of men and women must rebu… (more)

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