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After My Death [2018]: ‘NYAFF’ Review

After My Death is a puzzling, intriguing and interestingly volatile take on the sensitive topic that's under the question- suicide.

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The movie starts with an interesting shot of a girl communicating with her classmates in sign language. The anonymous nature of words spoken through sign language sets the ground for the rest of the film. It is sketched in the microcosm of a school where a tragic death happens, which clearly looks like a suicide on the surface, but like all suicides, carries the question ‘Why’.  After My Death is a puzzling, intriguing and interestingly volatile take on this very question. From the very beginning, the movie evokes a lot of emotions and asks viewers to investigate the story along with watching it. In totality, it’s a deliberate attempt at the developing a relationship with the viewer. It asks for a critical eye and an opinion, maybe because of it’s highly sensitive topic.

The movie deals with the lives of the closest people to the departed, the investigation and the concept of moving on. What’s under focus is not the death of this particular girl but the whole concept of death. Majority of the film is shot in low light, dark frames that repeatedly insinuate a dark future. With a compelling narrative, the pace of the movie is established as driven by the pace of one’s mind. The psychological journey of characters is evident. The first half of the film seems like a murder mystery or a psychological thriller while the second half unfolds as a coming of age psychological drama while the end gives the viewer a setback. Till the end, the viewers find themselves hooked and wait for the movie to reveal something. This, always present trope of curiosity, is well played within the film. It not only keeps you hooked but also tries to make you think continuously. Your mind is at play all the time to anticipate an end. You are watching the characters on the screen, their progress in life, you are moving on as they move on in life and desperately wanting an end like they are searching for in the film.

The movie deals with the inner turmoil that has devastating effects, it tries to give cinematic language to this turmoil. It also tries to explain a few things and certain things it leaves unsaid. This conscious use of ambiguity carries within a tendency to supply confusion and sometimes it does. For instance, it becomes difficult to keep up with the intentions of the characters in the film and why certain incidents happen. One of the scenes where a girl tries to seduce a professor and lies about him seducing her is abrupt. It’s difficult to guess what that contributes to the main narrative. Also, to talk of confusion, it would have been better if there was somewhat of an explanation for a few scenes so that the film could also engage the viewer emotionally into the narrative. Nonetheless, it plays out well what it tries to communicate through ambiguity at the end. What we are finally left with are a racing heart and a puzzled mind. Music too plays a big role in delivering the tension and also tieing up intensity firmly to the cinematic frames.

The movie in totality, is well constructed, intriguing and will definitely help develop sensibilities on a difficult topic that’s under question – suicide.

AUTHOR: KAVYA MISRA

‘AFTER MY DEATH’ PREMIERED AT THE NEW YORK ASIAN FILMS FESTIVAL.
CLICK HERE FOR OUR ENTIRE NYAFF COVERAGE

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