March 16, 2005 --

'AFTER the Apocalypse," an impressive experimental movie, is practically a one-man show by Yasuaki Nakajima, a self-taught filmmaker who once made a living cleaning skyscraper windows in Tokyo.

Now living in Queens, he's the producer, director, writer, editor, co-sound designer and one of the actors for the black-and-white, dialogue-free tale.

We first see him wearing a gas mask and emerging from an underground shelter.

It's "the near future" and he is, we soon learn, one of a random handful of people four men and a woman who have survived a devastating World War III.

They chance upon each other in a bleak, decaying landscape.

They're unable to speak, the result, most likely, of a chemical attack, although that is never spelled out.

"Apocalypse" brings to mind Luc Besson's wordless "The Last Battle" (1983) as it follows the five in their desperate fight for survival.

Never entirely trusting each other, they form uneasy alliances.

When the woman (Jacqueline Bowman) is abused by her boyfriend, some of the others unite to rescue her.

Not allowed to speak, the actors effectively use body language and grunts and groans to convey their emotions.

Shot for next to nothing, "Apocalypse" looks great, thanks to Carolyn Macartney's eerie, 16mm filming of Brooklyn and Queens locations.

Ambient sound and a killer musical score by Hiro Ota add to the spooky atmosphere.

For all its bleakness, "Apocalypse" ends on a hopeful note, one that says the human race will, after all, survive.

Low-budget sci-fi.Running time: 72 minutes. Not rated (sexuality, violence, brief nudity). At the Two Boots Pioneer Theater, Avenue A and Third Street, East Village.