AFTER THE APOCALYPSE Review
by Elliot Grove
Raindance Film Festival 2004

 

In the near future, in an unnamed land, five survivors of a devastating Third World War come together in a desperate struggle for survival. Left mute by poisonous gases, the four men and one woman are capable of uttering only the most basic sounds; as a result, the film brilliantly replaces dialogue with music and chillingly composed sound effects. Rendered in stunning black and white, After the Apocalypse is the ambitious feature debut of director Yasuaki Nakajima, who also wrote, edited, produced, and co-starred in the film.

After four years of cleaning high-rise windows in Tokyo, Yasuaki Nakajima quit his job in 1994 and went to Australia to hitchhike around the continent with a backpack and tent for six months. Speaking no English he felt like a ghost in the desert – a person who just appeared out of nowhere with no past. He had to learn to communicate using body language, eye contact and grunts. He filmed his experiences, and in 1996 moved to New York City, where he developed these concepts in his film.

After The Apocalypse was shot in 1999, but post-production took an agonizing four-and-a-half years to complete. Since its completion, it has taken on the mantle of the best post-9/11 movie. Poignant, moving, but never preachy, Nakajima’s film takes the genre of post-apocalyptic films to new heights.

EG