Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Kate Bush

After Blue (Dirty Paradise) (2021) - Mandico Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 8.42.10 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 8.48.32 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 9.01.36 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 10.38.11 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 10.53.17 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 8.22.19 AM Named after a settlement somewhere in the universe after the (wo)mankind escaped our uninhabitable, post-apocalypse planet, Dirty Paradise is an extremely queer planet with oozing flora and fauna. All the men have died out and the new planet is only inhabited by female and proliferated only by insemination. Roxy (Paula Luna), a young blonde kid who relentlessly gets bullied by her peers because she is different, lives with her town's hairdresser mom Zora (Elina Löwensohn). Because of hormon imbalance the settlers of the new planet grows tufts of hair on their necks and this gives submissive Zora plenty of work.

Roxy accidentally digs up a notorious killer/agitator named Kate Bush(!!)(Agata Buzek) on the beach who grants her three wishes. This turns into the death of Roxy's tormentors and Kate Bush escaping, running up the hills. The town's elders orders Zora and Roxy out of the confines of their cozy settlement and hunt for Kate Bush. This sets up After Blue as a sloggy western, where the mother and daughter pair needs to survive in an unforgiving and weird environs while tracking down to kill Kate Bush. The psycho-erotic telepathy that Roxy and Kate Bush shares keeps the film going forward, providing the its slight tension in the film.

Bertrand Mandico, known for his dreamy, neon colored queer fantasy films (Prehistoric Cabaret, Wild Boys), treads lightly in After Blue, rather uncharacteristically. It's a coming of age tale with sexual awakening themed sci-fi. There is no discernable message or strong metaphor or anything. But Mandico still knows how to have fun. But it's a tad bit long to sustain any kind of momentum. After the initial kitchy retro vibe of the production design, glow-in-the-dark paints and glitter wear off, there is nothing much to do for the cast, other than looking like being stranded in a darkly lit muppet show episode. I wish Mandico went all out and created over-the-top camp touching upon our desire and curiosity and gender politics.

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