After Yang

The cyber-human condition

When the title companion “techno-sapien” of his young daughter (Indonesian-American Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) malfunctions, her dad (Colin Farrell at his melancholy best) realizes that, rather than serving as the helpmate Yang is intended to be, he (it?) has inadvertently caused the family to sort of let life pass them by. He reconnects with his wife (a stunning Jodie Turner-Smith), and they begin a re-examination of their lives and life choices. 

The film is nothing if not ambitious, examining the issues of loneliness, mortality, adoption, existential unease and nothing less than the human condition itself. Cerebral but never distant, still but never static, by the end, this beautiful, evocative film, instead of alienation, imparts a sense of belonging — to something we can’t quite understand. 

The film is directed by the renowned but reclusive Korean-born video essayist who goes by “Kogonada,” a nom de guerre inspired by Yasujiro Ozu’s screenwriter. 

Downside: It asks provocative questions but provides no answers, and while I generally like the movies A24 makes, and I loved Kogonada’s 2917’s Columbus, I found this one just a bit too, well, mannered. I’ll probably like it better on a second viewing, which it practically demands. (96 min)