Surviving With Nothing Man-Made? Try a Film Festival
July 24, 2004

After Yasuaki Nakajima spent a year in Tokyo making a 12-minute film, he decided to go backpacking in Australia to clear his head. Little did he know that his six-month trek would inspire his first feature-length movie.

His "emotional journey," as he described it, had nothing to do with finding himself or the meaning of life but was about communication. Growing up in Japan, he had not learned English, and he realized he needed to ask for basic necessities to survive. "We do a lot of communication without talking," said the 32-year-old filmmaker, who lives in Queens. "We tend to forget that because we talk too much."

His film, "After the Apocalypse," will have an encore showing at 12:30 p.m. today at the theater at the Asia Society (725 Park Avenue, at 70th Street) as part of the Asian American International Film Festival. This 27th annual festival ends tonight, but some films will be shown in a mini-festival starting on Friday in Huntington on Long Island.

When he made his first feature movie, he eliminated dialogue. It wasn't a gimmick, he said, but a quest to see how people would endure if everything man-made were taken away, including speech.

His film begins after World War III has destroyed everything but four men, a woman and nature. Mr. Nakajima is a cast member. He said he had himself in mind as the audience, but that is not to say that he thought of the film as Japanese. The story is universal, he said....