As usual, the Sundance International Film Festival provoked some divisive reactions to new indie movies, with critics arguing over movies like Lena Dunham’s Sharp Stick and Riley Stearns’ Dual. But the acclaim for After Yang, the new science fiction movie from Columbus director and video essayist Kogonada, was nearly universal. The film, starring Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith as a couple navigating the death of an android babysitter who became something of a foster son to them, now has a gentle trailer highlighting the ways it digs into grief, memory, and identity.
In the film, based on Alexander Weinstein’s short story Saying Goodbye to Yang, the family purchased the “technosapien” Yang (Justin H. Min) to help raise their adopted Chinese daughter Mika by teaching her Mandarin and cultural facts. But he becomes more to them than an elaborate toy, and they don’t begin to think about his role in their lives — and the increasing evidence of his complicated inner life — until he malfunctions. It’s a quiet, heady, emotional film, beautifully observed and richly shot.
Film distribution company A24 will release After Yang in theaters and for streaming on Showtime on March 4.