By Kyle Francis
As the old saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words. This couldn’t be truer than with director Yasuaki Nakajima’s first feature length film, After the Apocalypse, a post apocalyptic drama where all of the people left alive after World War Three have lost the ability to speak.
Dialogue, in the minds of many, is the backbone of many modern films, thus most people would be leery about watching a film without a single spoken word. How could a story or characters be presented effectively in this manner, they’d ask. Too bad, since only the adventurous enough to take a chance with Nakajima’s ambitious project will experience a uniquely wonderful film.
After the Apocalypse follows five survivors of a devastating war through their attempts to obtain sustenance, shelter and companionship. Although the plot involves all five of the film’s principle characters, the action follows the exploits of one nameless hero as he wanders the wastes of society. Taking the leading role for himself, Nakajima plays the role of a post apocalyptic everyman, defending against the dangers of the fall out, gather food, and (God willing) start a family. Even without lines to deliver, the cast conveys the essence of their characters through body language, indiscernible grunts, and the very look in their eyes.
As a director, Nakajima manages to paint a gloriously lush picture of a post apocalyptic city, even in the face of low production values and the film being entirely shot in black and white. The locales of the film are mostly in and around demolished cityscapes, allowing for the frame to be filled by random items like bathtubs and fire hydrants. The grainy aesthetic achieved through the 16mm black and white cinematography and the feeling of a lost civilization gleaned from the disturbingly familiar sets combine to create an authentic post apocalyptic world not seen since yon days of The Road Warrior.
Independent movies this good are too few and far between to let Nakajima’s startlingly accomplished debut to go unnoticed. After the Apocalypse is a delightfully entertaining yet intentionally unquotable experimental cinema experience that you quite literally have to see to believe.
For more information regarding After the Apocalypse, check out the movie’s website www.aftertheapocalypse.com