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In the Aftermath

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:22 pm
by Calvin
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A HORRIFYING VISION OF MAN’S WORST NIGHTMARE.

Following in the footsteps of Francis Ford Coppola and Peter Bogdanovich, Roger Corman protégé Carl Colpaert (The Crew) made his directorial debut by combining repurposed excerpts from a foreign film – in this case, Mamoru Oshii’s (Ghost In The Shell) spellbinding 1985 anime Angel’s Egg – with new live action footage shot in America. The result is In The Aftermath, a haunting post-apocalyptic vision like no other.

In a radiation-soaked wasteland, two surviving soldiers, Frank and Goose, search for essential supplies amid the rubble. After a violent confrontation, Frank is haunted by visions of an angelic young girl holding a giant egg, herself a refugee from another world altogether. Could the egg be the key to saving both their worlds?

A unique mash-up of 1980s B-movie nuclear paranoia and hauntingly lyrical animation, In The Aftermath is presented in a stunning new restoration that highlights Oshii’s visionary genius and Colpaert’s low-budget ingenuity.


SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

• Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, exclusively restored by Arrow Films
• Presented on High Definition Blu-ray (1080p)
• Original uncompressed stereo PCM audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• The Path To Aftermath, a newly filmed interview with producer Tom Dugan
• Apocalypse Then, a newly filmed interview with star Tony Markes
• Before The Aftermath: The Influence of Angel’s Egg, a new appreciation of Mamoru Oshii’s original film by anime expert Andrew Osmond (author of Arrow Books’ Ghost In The Shell)
• Still and poster gallery
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Corey Brickley

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jon Towlson

Re: In the Aftermath

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:27 pm
by Calvin
An odd choice for Arrow to release this (and to restore it themselves) and not Oshii's Angel's Egg itself.

Re: In the Aftermath

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:45 pm
by colinr0380
Absolutely fantastic! I have been banging on about this bizarre film for decades it seems (so take the following with a pinch of salt as someone with their nostalg(h)ia-goggles on rhapsodising a bit!) It is sort of the sci-fi equivalent of the re-using of The Terror in Targets, with the live action sections of characters in radiation suits (much of the early sections are scored to the breathing apparatus, 2001-style) searching through rubble and industrial buildings that interestingly contrast against the much more powerfully abstract Angel's Egg material. I remember finding the film slightly disturbing but also incredibly hypnotic when just stumbling across it on late night television in my early teens. It might be hyping it up too much, but it created the same feeling in me that seeing Stalker later on did, and I would be curious to find out whether the Tarkovsky influenced at least the Colpaert material a bit, not to mention the original Oshii animation.

There's not too much like this, although something like Mamoru Oshii's 2001 live action, Polish language film Avalon is slightly in the same territory too (which would be another great Arrow release! hint, hint!), and a lot of the imagery in Angel's Egg (diving and reflections in particular) reappear in Ghost In The Shell.
Calvin wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:27 pm
An odd choice for Arrow to release this (and to restore it themselves) and not Oshii's Angel's Egg itself.
I would agree, as the perfect release would be both In The Aftermath: Angels Never Sleep and Angel's Egg together, but it might be due to rights perhaps. By the way, if anyone wants to check out Angel's Egg as its own thing (as worthy of a boutique release in its own right, almost the Fantastic Planet of the 1980s), it is currently up on the Oldtaku TV YouTube channel.

Re: In the Aftermath

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:53 pm
by Calvin
There definitely were/are rights issues with Angel's Egg (preventing an Anchor Bay release all the way back in 2000/2001), but I've always thought that they were connected to this film and could be circumvented if they were released together or by the same label. Perhaps not though? I find it hard to believe that Arrow would have passed up on it if it was available to them.

Re: In the Aftermath

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:22 pm
by colinr0380
And here's another wonderful video discussing just Angel's Egg. The way the In The Aftermath material ties in with all that is that it is suggested to be the 'reality' surrounding the animation, and the fight against or embracing of what the unleashed power (or new life) contained within the the egg represents can be seen as a metaphor for the atomic bomb.

(I would also add that the obscure metaphorical apocalypse of Angel's Egg feels much more graspable than it once did now that obscure metaphorical lore has underpinned the structure of video games such as the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne! Let alone the recent Twin Peaks season!)

Re: In the Aftermath

Posted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:16 am
by colinr0380
Calvin in Arrow Rumours and News wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:35 pm
- Tried for but didn't get Angel's Egg
That would explain why it does not appear on the upcoming In The Aftermath disc, with a discussion from Andrew Osmond about Angel's Egg instead, which is a shame but hopefully that means someone else might be releasing it (either that or it was too expensive to justify picking up when so much of the film appears within In The Aftermath already).

Re: In the Aftermath

Posted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:10 am
by Calvin
Or that there are still rights issues. I thought the rights issues were relating to In the Aftermath and could possibly be overcome if the same label released both, but maybe not. I would be very surprised if anyone else had it (certainly no UK anime label has ever seemed interested in the past) and if it was costly...surely you would drop In the Aftermath (or at least its restoration) and go with Angel's Egg instead?

Re: In the Aftermath

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 4:04 am
by colinr0380
I sat down last night to watch In The Aftermath: Angels Never Sleep for the first time in about twenty years and still like it very much. After saying it was a bit like the use of The Terror in Targets in the earlier comment above it also struck me that it is a little like that "Love Conquers All" cut of Brazil, in the sense of taking original material and completely changing its meaning through re-ordering of scenes and the layering of narration and a different score over the action, along with filming extra 'linking material' to make it all cohere together, even if some of the patchwork joins still (beautifully!) show. And also In The Aftermath, despite taking place in the ruins after an unspecified apocalypse has poisoned the atmosphere, has that same sense of almost being an attempt at an optimistic counter response to Angel's Egg's allegorical darkness!

However whilst that "Love Conquers All" cut of Brazil was produced by a studio trying to 'fix' and make 'acceptable' Terry Gilliam's film without his consent, In The Aftermath: Angels Never Sleep feels more as if it took the abstract sequences of Angel's Egg as inspiration to go off into its own flight of fantasy. The 'linking sequences' in the form of live action scenes are much more fully fleshed out here and there are even a couple of really nice moments of the live action footage trying to almost prepare the viewer for imagery that occurs in the animation such as the fight in the bathroom between our main character and a soldier trying to steal his tank of pure oxygen that makes use of a, slightly incongruous in this location, harpoon gun, but that prepares for the sequence of all the mysterious fisherman hunting shadows of giant floating fish drifting across the city in the animation (the ghosts of actions they used to perform, still trying to chase and catch the literally intangible); the use of the spherical glass bottle in the animation transfers across to containing the liquid that cures the main character from his infection post-fight and exposure to the atmosphere; and especially the girl in the animation becoming a live action figure running through the rubble, as an unreachable figure off in the distance.

I kind of like that we get the tragic ending of Angel's Egg but then the footage is re-ordered to give the girl a 'second chance' with a new egg. A lot of the Angel's Egg material is treated in that fashion, through the voiceover adding context to material that was originally abstract. The mysterious figure who comes to the planet and follows the girl holding the egg, before she tentatively lets her guard down and he destroys it in Angel's Egg here becomes explicitly described as her brother and that these two characters are literally angels with the young girl now an 'angel in training' trying to find a being in the world worthy of saving (rather Wings of Desire-like in some ways!). The tragic climax of Angel's Egg instead becomes the mid-point moment of the girl failing in her quest (by falling asleep instead of remaining vigilant and watching over those in need), but being provided with another opportunity to pass on her gift to another being, and that the sacrifice in In The Aftermath is a supreme moment of fulfilment of an Angel's task rather than a kind of tragedy being imposed on the girl by a mysterious figure in Angel's Egg.

I particularly love the score and narration of In The Aftermath, as that completely transforms the intent and meaning of the animation. Maybe it is helped by Angel's Egg's original narrative being rather abstract and elusive itself, with only minimal passages of dialogue, so that the imagery can be re-cut into something else and in some fashion retain its meaning, or at least some of its tone (similar to how Brazil could be changed and yet still much of the dystopian vision comes through even in the "Love Conquers All" cut). I saw In The Aftermath: Angel's Never Sleep decades before I had the opportunity to see Angel's Egg itself and that left this film seeming all the stranger and weirder for the random shifts between live action and animation (presumably practically motivated as much as artistically, though I think the transitions from one 'world' to the other are very well done), as well as for the way that the animation itself was cut and collaged together in the re-editing process.

Revisiting In The Aftermath after watching Angel's Egg I was a little concerned that In The Aftermath would be rather irrelevant now, but it still retains a strange power just through being able to now compare how certain sequences were built up out of shots, even fragmentary moments, from the original film. For instance the opening moments of the girl waking up are intercut with the ship coming to land, making it seem as if she is actually witnessing this event, whilst in Angel's Egg that scene immediately follows the landing, making it seem more like she has been brought into being by that ship, rather than having existed as a separate being before it. And then as she runs from the ruins, we get that transition made up from moments from the opening titles (especially that beautifully brief en pointe twisting shot of the girl's leg turning to leave) as well as footage from the very end as she is again running from the ruins. Its a fascinating example of transforming pre-existing footage and building a scene out of material from all other parts of the film, which sometimes works beautifully in suggesting new juxtapositions of imagery (especially in the musical moments when the animation merges its closest with the live action footage), and sometimes is a little "Love Conquers All"-cut clunky (especially the disappearing and reappearing cloak on the girl as shots from different sections of Angel's Egg are cut together). But that adds to the charm I think!

I do think that it is really important to see Angel's Egg together with In The Aftermath: Angels Never Sleep however, whether before or afterwards. Not really because you need to in order to fully understand one work or the other, but that both feel as if they enrich each other in a really beautiful way. The dark, metaporhically abstract imagery in Angel's Egg (but potentially too obscure at certain points?) brushes up against In The Aftermath trying to create a classical narrative structure and character arc to fit it into. But the imagery is too powerful to be contained and constrained even when re-cut, re-scored and with added narration, which causes In The Aftermath to feel bizarre and weird in itself in its attempts to encompass it!

Re: In the Aftermath

Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 5:03 am
by colinr0380
There have also been a couple of things about this film which have been clarified by this release which I am really grateful for. One is that during Andrew Osmond’s video discussion he notes that New World Pictures was also responsible a few years before for picking up Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, re-cutting and dubbing it into Warriors of the Wind. Which explains why that Hayao Miyazaki film was released in the West over a decade before Miramax picked up Princess Mononoke around 1999 and Disney picked up all the Miyazaki films to dub with Hollywood voice talent from the success of Spirited Away, which can often be considered to be the ‘official’ discovery of Miyazaki in the West. I think that it also explains for me why both Warriors of the Wind and In The Aftermath turned up on the UK ITV regional television channels a few times during the late 80s and early 90s, as they presumably were both picked up as a package of New World Pictures, released in the UK through Vestron Video.

Also the booklet essay sorts out a bit of the confusion about why the film was thought of as being Australian for many years (including In The Aftermath being classed as an Australian film in the entry for Angel’s Egg in Helen McCarthy’s Anime Movie Guide from 1996), which is that despite In The Aftermath going straight to video in every other territory (including the UK) it apparently got a brief theatrical release in Australia! So, in addition perhaps to a general assumption of Australia equalling Mad Max post-apocalyptic films and the general lack of information about the film, that presumably led to it being assumed to be an Australian rather than a US production!

Interestingly the booklet also mentions that Angel’s Egg’s only real official screenings outside of Japan was Australia too! And it has tempted me to look into importing Angel’s Egg from Japan since apparently it came out on Blu-ray there back in 2013. Even if it does not have English subtitles outside of a couple of scenes it is not a particularly dialogue heavy film anyway, and in lieu of it getting a release anywhere else it might be the only option available.

And from the image gallery it is interesting to note that at some point between the UK VHS release and this latest edition of the film, In The Aftermath’s BBFC rating got upped from a PG to 12! (Presumably for the hero losing the fight and the shooting early on? And the 12 rating coming into existence between that earliest and this most recent release)