Have you ever thought to yourself, man I would love to see a French space western with lesbians? Well, your prayers have been answered! TIFF selection After Blue is hands-down one of the strangest films I have seen in recent memory. In the same breath, its provocative erotic imagery and steadfast dedication to fleshing out this strange world makes it memorable indeed. That said, After Blue is not mainstream in the slightest, and will no doubt produce a strong love-it-or-hate-it response.
Ah, the great Kate Bush! The vengeful arm of After Blue! You’ve heard of her right? It will certainly be the name on everybody’s lips after one showing of After Blue. This legendary figure has been buried in the sand and left for dead on the faraway planet of the film’s title. This female-colonized planet (no male life survived) comprised of nationality-based micro-communities is vibrant with fruits, animals, and breathtaking landscapes. Toxic (Paula Luna) is a young woman who takes it upon herself to unearth Kate Bush (“if you unearth me, I will grant you three desires”), unbeknownst that nearly everyone else wants Bush dead. This sets off a chain reaction wherein Toxic’s frenemies are slayed by Kate Bush. The mothers of the dead teens banish Toxic from town—she can only return once Kate Bush is tracked down and killed.
If this sounds exhausting already, it remains so throughout. I spent too much time being tied in knots by the meandering plot threads that it became a less-than-enjoyable way to spend over two hours. Mind-blowing cinematography and desert-burned imagery is apparent, but hollow, scatter-brained non-linear scripting left this viewer mighty confused. This is just a taste of what After Blue has to offer: a vagina eye, “a community of bitches,” a massive gun nicknamed Chanel, human tentacles, and bursting nipple gore.
“You’re more deflated than a 100 year old’s tit,” one character says as an insult. This line alone is a perfect snapshot of the humor and quirky sci-fi vibes you get from one night in After Blue. Take a shot every time they say the name “Kate Bush,” and you will be dead from alcohol poisoning before the film reaches its bizarre conclusion.
After Blue screened at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.