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After Blue (Dirty Paradise) – TIFF21

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After Blue (Dirty Paradise) – TIFF21

Synopsis:
A chimeric future on After Blue, a planet from another galaxy, a virgin planet where only women can survive in the midst of harmless flora and fauna. The story is of a punitive expedition.

On a planet occupied entirely by women, a mother and daughter are sent to assassinate a dangerous criminal in . Far into the future, humanity has left Earth for the planet After Blue, with the male population dying off early on. Roxy (), nicknamed Toxic by the village girls, is a lonely teenager, who ends up unearthing buried criminal Kate Bush (), who promised to grant Roxy three desires. However, Kate Bush promptly murders all of Roxy's friends and her hairstylist mother Zora () is tasked by the village elders to hunt down and kill the criminals. Along the way, Zora and Roxy are assisted by the mysterious and seductive Sternberg () and her tentacled android partner Olgar 2 ().

After Blue (Dirty Paradise) is a sci-fi acid western from writer/director Bertrand Mandico (The Wild Boys), who follows his “Incoherence Manifesto” to create a film that comes across as a mix of Barbarella, the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, and 1973's Fantastic Planet. In an almost perverse sort of way, this film can almost be viewed as a coming-of-age story of sorts for the very androgynous protagonist of Roxy, who is haunted by the ghosts of her dead friends, who cannot rest until the antagonist Kate Bush is dead.

Nevermind the fact that the film has a villain with the same name as a popular British pop singer from the 1980s, After Blue (Dirty Paradise) is a literal drug trip of a film, which does a relatively decent job of developing the titular alien world and its predominantly female population. However, the premise of After Blue (Dirty Paradise) does begin to wear thin after a while and I was left questioning whether the film really needed to be 130 minutes long? The answer is a resounding no.

After Blue (Dirty Paradise) screened as part of Midnight Madness at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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