The Midnight After ★★★★★

Fruit Chan's The Midnight After was my favorite film from the Seattle Film Festival earlier this year, and it remains a favorite after seeing it again in Vancouver. It's no less mysterious than it was on that initial viewing. Its dizzying series of inexplicablities seem more than ever to me an attempt at creating something more unsettling than the goriest horror movie: a film about the inability to comprehend the world as it is now, played out in a series of confrontations: generational, romantic, judicial, political, spiritual. The audience in Vancouver was much different than in Seattle. Bigger (the large auditorium was sold out, the pre-show lineup snaking through the mall further than I could track) and largely Chinese and Chinese-Canadian, the crowd was much more in tune with its daft chaos, laughing at all the right moments (the 40 or so people I saw it with in Seattle seemed more baffled than entertained). And seeing it at the end of a remarkable week in Hong Kong, with the instability and unknowability and fear of what will come when and if Hong Kongers get to vote for their own rulers in the coming years sparking massive protests throughout the former colony, only added to the film's sense of urgency. One of the biggest and uneasiest laughs of the night came when the lost passengers, learning that they are now six years in the future, wonder if this strange world they've found themselves in is the result of the 2016 elections.