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‘After Blue (Dirty Paradise)’ Review: A Fever Dream Adventure

‘After Blue (Dirty Paradise)’ Review: A Fever Dream Adventure

After unwittingly freeing a dangerous outlaw, Roxy (Paula Luna) must take off on a journey to repair her mistake by killing the escapee, aided by her mother, Zora (Elina Löwensohn). Sounds straightforward enough, but context matters: This all takes place on After Blue, the planet where humans decamped after wrecking Earth — only “ovarian-bearers” survived, though, because the atmosphere made the men’s hairs grow inside of them and they all died.

The fugitive, Kate Bush (Agata Buzek), is just one of the encounters Roxy (“but the village girls call me Toxic”) and her mom make over the course of Bertrand Mandico’s psychedelic fever dream of a movie. We expect no less from a director who subscribes to a filmmaking manifesto called International Incoherence (sample: “Actors will alternate non acting and overacting”).

Mandico works in the overheated, maximally art directed tradition of Kenneth Anger and Alejandro Jodorowsky, and “After Blue (Dirty Paradise)” is most effective if you just go along with whatever craziness pops up on the screen. The film is a picaresque western/science fiction hybrid in which the most surreal events are treated with matter-of-fact calm, as when Roxy burrows her face into the many-tentacled crotch of a male android or when a sexy artist (Vimala Pons, who, like Löwensohn, also was in Mandico’s extravagant debut feature, “The Wild Boys,” from 2018) turns up and seduces Zora. It’s unclear what Mandico is trying to say, if anything, and the film overstays its welcome — even the wildest visuals lose their power to stun after a while — but “After Blue” certainly is sui generis.

See Also

After Blue (Dirty Paradise)
Not rated. In French, English and Polish, with subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 7 minutes. In theaters.

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