Fantastic Fest 2021: ‘After Blue’ is an Erotic, Erratic Trip

Reading Time: 2 minutes

After Blue (Dirty Paradise)

In the distant future of After Blue (Dirty Paradise), humankind has abandoned Earth and found sanctuary on an untamed and bizarre planet. Men are not suited to the harsh new environment, leaving behind women as the planet’s masters and survivors. The women of After Blue lead brutal and unforgiving lives, in their pseudo-Wild West society. After Blue tells the story of a lonely teenager named Roxy and her mother Zora. When Roxy unwittingly releases a dangerous assassin from her prison, Roxy and her mother are held accountable for the death and destruction that follows. The mother-daughter duo is charged by their community to track the assassin down and put an end to her. Though the question lingers: Can Roxy overcome the hypnotic pull of this beautiful stranger?

After Blue (Dirty Paradise) is written and directed by Bertrand Mandico and stars Paula Luna Breitenfelder, Elina Löwensohn, Vimala Pons, and Agata Buzek.

Attempting to summarize and categorize After Blue is a task of Herculean proportions. It’s a Western, with the traditional trappings of majestic landscapes, a posse of heroes, and bands of outlaws. It’s a fantastical science fiction acid trip, reveling in the otherworldly and the bizarre. After Blue is all of those things and more, but the heart of the film is this bizarre coming-of-age story for the character of Roxy. Against this psychedelic backdrop of out-of-this-world aesthetics is the simple narrative of a daughter that is coming into her own desires and slowly separating herself from the protection of her mother.

Viewers of After Blue must hold onto this narrative thread for dear life because it is easily lost in the overwhelming acid trip that makes up the bulk of this film. The dreamy cinematography is saturated in such color and texture that it’s as abrasive to look at as it is interesting. As the simple story trudges along, Mandico hurls an assault of violence, brutality, perverse sensuality, and the just plain weird at the viewer relentlessly, almost maliciously.

While the film is certainly fascinating, After Blue can be easily categorized as an experience rather than a story. For all of its contemporary and avant-garde sensibilities, there is a retro note to the film that immediately brings to mind the sci-fi greats of the 1960s and early 70s. One would be hard-pressed to find a more appropriate “midnight movie.”

Ultimately, After Blue is a very strong and unique flavor that will not suit all tastes – but those who have the right palette will delight in the cyberpunk treat. The film is sure to find its audience with genre fest devotees and disciples of eccentric aesthetics. For better or for worse, the overwhelming visual presence of the film and its unique brand of taboo drown out that single thread of storytelling. As far as performances, these actors are likewise drowned out by their surroundings… or perhaps they simply shrink. The final product is a visual feast that doesn’t quite satisfy.

After Blue (Dirty Paradise) screened at the 2021 Fantastic Fest.


After Blue (Dirty Paradise)
  • 4/10
    Rating - 4/10
4/10

TL;DR

Ultimately, After Blue is a very strong and unique flavor that will not suit all tastes – but those who have the right palette will delight in the cyberpunk treat. The film is sure to find its audience with genre fest devotees and disciples of eccentric aesthetics. For better or for worse, the overwhelming visual presence of the film and its unique brand of taboo drown out that single thread of storytelling. As far as performances, these actors are likewise drowned out by their surroundings… or perhaps they simply shrink. The final product is a visual feast that doesn’t quite satisfy.