Critics have been buzzing about After Yang, the second film by the acclaimed and mysterious director Kogonada, ever since it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last summer. That buzz restarted a week and a half ago, when the movie debuted at Sundance. Thankfully, since we commonfolk will be able to watch the sci-fi movie next month, we’ve just received the first trailer and the buzz looks entirely warranted.
All you really need to know to enjoy this fantastic video is the official synopsis: “In a world where robotic children are purchased as live-in babysitters, a father and daughter attempt to save the life of their robotic family member, Yang, who has become unresponsive.”
Obviously, things are somewhat more complex than that. A24 describes it thusly: “When his young daughter’s beloved companion — an android named Yang — malfunctions, Jake (Colin Farrell) searches for a way to repair him. In the process, Jake discovers the life that has been passing in front of him, reconnecting with his wife (Jodie Turner-Smith) and daughter across a distance he didn’t know was there.”
You can read our full review of After Yang here, courtesy of Germain Lussier (but be warned of a few mild spoilers) — but what really sticks out here are the vibes. It’s quiet without being somber, mysterious without being sinister, poignant without being manipulative. It’s warm and thoughtful and melancholy and beautiful. (Honestly, maybe this is because I just watched the mercilessly bombastic Moonfall, but the After Yang trailer hit me hard.)
If you recognise the actor who lays Yang, Justin H. Min, but can’t place him, that’s likely because he stars as Ben Hargreeves in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, but rarely shows up because he’s, well, dead — although his status quo might have been somewhat altered for season three. That’s Colin Farrell, of course, as the father Jake, Nightfliers’ Jodie-Turner-Smith as his wife Kyra, and Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja as their daughter, Mika.
Based on the short story “Saying Goodbye to Yang,” by Alexander Weinstein, After Yang premieres March 4 in theatres and on Showtime.