***AFTER BLUE (DIRTY PARADISE) (2021)
Flash forward to the near future, where people have abandoned Earth for a brand new planet called After Blue. But there’s one catch: it’s inhospitable to men, so the population is solely women, creating their own society with distinct rules and regulations. One day, lonely teenager Roxy — called “Toxic” by bullies — stumbles across a woman buried in the sand as punishment for an unknown crime. Taking pity on the woman (a humorously named Kate Bush), Roxy frees her, and Kate Bush immediately murders a group of girls on the beach. Roxy and her mother are promptly banished, blamed for the murders, and told they can only return after they have killed Kate Bush. Thus begins their odyssey through the bizarre landscape of After Blue in pursuit of this dangerous and mysterious woman.
In this post-apocalyptic western fairytale, the possibilities are endless, science fiction in the best sense of the word. Director Bertrand Mandico has constructed a wonderfully inventive and completely immersive experience, creating his own wonderfully strange fantasy world. From his distinctly lush, candy-colored cinematography to the fantastical set design and stylized dialogue, every element works in harmony to create an experience unlike any other.
Mandico is one of the most daring, exciting filmmakers working today. Part of a new wave of boundary-pushing queer French filmmakers which includes his frequent collaborator, Fantastic Fest alum Yann Gonzalez (KNIFE + HEART), Mandico is consistently expanding the definitions of genre, both stylistically and plotwise. Check out his first feature THE WILD BOYS as a warm-up for AFTER BLUE … and prepare to have your mind blown! (LISA DREYER)