Sci-fi drama After Yang: Colin Farrell meets “techno-sapiens”
The sci-fi drama “After Yang” starring Colin Farrell is about a family’s relationship with an artificial intelligence. How strong can the emotional bond with an android become?
The sci-fi drama After Yang focuses on a family’s relationship with a sentient robot. Director Kogonada places human emotions such as love, attachment, and loss in the context of a highly technological world. The family man played by Colin Farrell wants to find out how deep the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence can go.
After Yang: An android boy becomes a family member
After Yang is based on the short story “Saying Goodbye to Yang” by author Alexander Weinstein. The action takes place in a not-too-distant future where autonomous driving and artificial intelligence have long been part of everyday life. Real-life human robots are accepted by society there and are referred to as “techno-sapiens.”
One of these androids finds its way into a family. Kyra and Jake (Colin Farrell) buy their adopted daughter Mika, who has Chinese roots, the “renovated” android boy Yang. His job is to help Mika feel comfortable in her new environment while introducing her to the culture of her country of origin.
Do androids dream of electric sheep?
When Yang suddenly stops working, a world collapses for Mika. Father Jake sets out to have the robot boy repaired as cheaply as possible. In the process, he first meets a technician and conspiracy theorist who sees androids as a corporate spy tool. However, he manages to uncover the boy’s memory chip.
A specialist at the local AI museum shows Jake what Yang is actually like. Using a VR headset and Yang’s memory chip, she lets Jake relive the android’s memories and feelings. It turns out that Yang had already gone through at least one life before he became Mika’s companion, and his deepest wish was to feel human emotions.
Jake tries to find out more about the relationship between the robot and his daughter and to track down its “previous owner.” It appears that Yang made contact with a mysterious woman before his demise.
What critics say about After Yang
The US film magazine Variety attests to director Kogonada’s sensitive handling of the characters and the story. The pulse rarely rises above the quiet phase, and he avoids common thriller clichés. Instead, Kogonada invites viewers to dive deep into the film’s themes.
Film magazine IndieWire writes: “Through its hushed portrait of loss and reclamation, “After Yang” whispers a powerful fable about an all too present tomorrow in which people are more intimate with technology than they are with their own family.”
After Yang was first screened at the Cannes International Film Festival in the summer of 2021, where it was nominated for the Prix Un Certain Regard. The DVD and Blu-ray release is scheduled for this year. It is not known whether After Yang will find a place on video streaming services like Netflix or Amazon’s Prime Video.