After Yang Deep Dive Explanation

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After Yang Deep Dive Explanation. After Yang movie is a contemplative, slow burn of a movie, with about a zillion crazy concepts going on in it, all at once. And every single concept is gloriously lit, and abundantly worth your time. AI family members. Adoption. Interracial AI adoptions. The definition of family. The definition of race. Corporate spying. Commercial espionage. Inner familial responsibilities. Techno-sapien rights. Familial AI Espionage Techno-sapien rights and Data Sales Corporate Espionage stuff. I kid you not. It has plenty of Moral Ambiguity and way too many questions about philosophical quagmires, each laid out on the foundation of other moral quagmires… quagmiric morasses even shall we say?

Look. This movie is already being panned as “depressing,” “sad,” and “slow.” I mean, I haven’t read a single review… but I’m hearing scuttlebutt that this is the case. But if ideas, thoughts, conundrums that will force you to consider, are your thing, then wow, After Yang… I promise it will. Have I stopped even communicating in. Um. Full sentences? Yeah, that’s how this movie. It also effected me. One second. Sentences. Just hold there for one second. Look – I’m going to put this trailer here. But do not watch it. I didn’t watch it. I just started the movie. It is brought to us by A24 after all. Have they ever steered us wrong before?

After Yang Movie Walkthrough

Because After Yang might be a little confusing to a normal user who is dealing with people, helping with homework, and doing laundry… maybe we should just walk through After Yang in chronological order. But doing so, it’ll spoil pretty much everything… right away. So, if you haven’t seen the movie yet? You really need to click one of the links above, and watch the movie before you continue reading. Fair enough. But first, a quick primer on the world of After Yang that wasn’t immediately clear to me.

Kogonada (the creator of one of my top ten favorite movies of all time, Columbus) has created a brilliant film that deals with loss, to meet a world and society that has just gone through a 2-year long pandemic, and suffered calamity after calamity. Right? So After Yang is an investigation of loss in a hyper-modern, yet recognizable world. Kogonada adapted the short story from Alexander Weinstein entitled “Saying Goodbye to Yang,” which you can read right here if you are interested. And in this universe, it is in the future wherein AI-bots, techno-sapiens, are ubiquitous, and yet, the technology is so irrelevant, they just become a part of the story.

Yang is initially sent to live with a family who take Yang in as one of their own. He learns to care for the family, and begins to connect with the daughter of the family as she grows older… her name is Ada. He grows very attached to Ada, and regularly imprints memories of her as they spend time together. But tragedy strikes, and Ada is hit by a drunk driver and Yang loses his Ada.

Yang continues assisting his family, but eventually the matriarch of the family dies, and Yang is returned. He is eventually sold to a family that only has him a couple of days, and returns him because they think that he is too morose for their liking. And after that, he is returned again. From there, he is sold to a new family, Jake and Kyra, who are looking for a sibling for their daughter Mika, who can teach her Chinese, etc. Someone that can encourage and strengthen Mika’s historical background, as she is adopted from China. Jake and Kyra were also hoping for something of a caregiver to Mika as well, because they both have their own jobs and careers that are consuming them.

One more fill in here that we didn’t see in the movie until the memories, I will say this – Ada. Ada, the friend of Yang’s – the gal who died due to a drunk driver… her sister has a daughter, and she names her Ada as well, in honor of her sister. Got it? Dead Ada has a niece named in her honor. Okay, continuing on. We’ll come back here momentarily.

Now we are arriving at the start of the movie. Okay? Yang “dies.” There is discussion about the fact that Jake should have known better than to purchase a refurb unit. But techno-sapiens are so extraordinarily expensive, it only made sense to get a warranty refurb. When Jake realizes that the company he purchased Yang from is out of business, and his daughter is progressively melting more and more at the loss of her techno-sapien caregiver, he becomes more and more frazzled about what to do next. So, on a recommendation from a neighbor, who has several techno-sapiens of his own, Jake decides he is going to take Yang to a back alley shop to see if he can get Yang fixed. When the chop-shop finds a memory unit that has only been myth and rumor in the conspiracy theory universe, Jake decides he is going to try and see if he can read what is on the hard drive of Yang’s memories.

Once Jake gets into Yang’s memories we start watching the memories from multiple vantage points, simultaneously. Eh? Think of it this way, it’s like watching a home-video and thinking about your own personal perspective of that same memory at the same time. This is why the movie begins repeating itself regularly. Begins repeating itself regularly. Multiple Multiple times and through and through various pers-various perspectives. But Yang’s perspectives and memories are revolutionary for Jake and his idea of what Yang was all about. This is where he learns, that randomly (for him, but not for us chronological folk) there is a gal in Yang’s life. He eventually discovers that her name is Ada, and Yang actively hunted her down because of her connection to her aunt, who he was connected to years prior. And as Jake connects with Ada, they and Mika, all start their journey to save Yang.

But STOP. While the three amigos are on their journey, concentrating on Yang – something else is going on. Jake and Kyra. First, as Jake learns more and more about Yang, his memories, and the various corporate malfeasance’s going on, he says nothing to her. “Yup, I’ll tell you more later.” “Nothing to report. Yadda yadda.” He is keeping her in the dark and they are just grinding out life. You know that constant, one foot in front of the other state of living? It really feels like that is what they are doing here. Instead, he should have been bringing her in at each moment, as he learned more. I’m getting ahead of myself here though. Jake is learning that Yang wasn’t in fact a factory refurb, he was in fact a techno-sapien that had lived two previous lives. One, a long one, in a family where he loved and cared for a family, and for a gal named Ada. A second one wherein he was quickly returned… and then Jake’s family. And so, ultimately, Jake and Kyra decide that they won’t put Yang in a museum, on display, but that they will allow the museum to study Yang’s memories. See? Simple. Wait, HUH?

After Yang Deeper Dive

After Yang is a movie that is set in a very very specific moment in our future history. It’s sort of an Exurban Supratopian future. Supra-topian? Not dystopian, not protopian… sort of a supra-pro-topian environment. But it’s touch and go in this happy, everything is gloriously textiled to the limits, and manicured to perfection, modernism. Kogonada is nothing if not an Architectural savant. I want to take up residence in Columbus, or After Yang. The clothes! The homes! The lighting! GAH. But the world is raw from pain. There is talk of corporate espionage. There is talk of corporate viruses and a lack of faith in corporate America. Worse, there are super faint, really quiet echoes of Asian hatred, and racism. (Honey? Did we watch the same movie this guy watched? WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT RACISM?). There were flyers in the background that talked about a recent war with China… and they talked about “The Yellow Peril.” Did you catch that bit Wilber? Okay then. Or, the flyer that said, and I quote, “There ain’t no Yellow in the Red, White, and BLUE”?? Yeah. And Yang? He was the help. Jake and Kyra are a progressive family – Jake is white, and Kyra is black… but they are also both employed, and busy. But most specifically, they have adopted Mika and want to “teach her cute Chinese fun facts”… now, I don’t know about you, but come on. Yang was completely ignored until he was gone. Mika developed a very sweet, very real relationship with him. And yet, he was discounted by the Jake and Kyra.

All that though? Just backstory. Landscape. The movie is actually about what life and death actually means. By considering it from the vantage of a techno-sapien, it is putting, in stark relief, the question of life, death, and the meaning of life. Ada tells Jake that Yang wasn’t interested in being human, I mean, why would he even want that? (Which, is a great question. Why do we think robots would even desire to be us??) But he did wonder what it mean to be Asian. Which, is inside out of inside out. An AI being is hoping to help Mika to understand what that means. But maybe he also wanted to know for himself. Is he Asian? Huh. Is he Asian because of his appearance? Because of his programming? Because of his cultural memories or ideas? He housed Chinese trivia and details and customs.

These are all questions though – there are no answers. But as we learn more and more about Yang we learn that we knew nothing about him while he lived. He was storing memories at random, and at his own will. They were beautiful moments of trees, birds, Ada’s face. Watching these memories unfold reveals revelation after revelation of what mattered, or impressed itself upon Yang. Which is a data point, in and of, itself. It wasn’t a full-on recording of his entire life. Rather, snippets of moments. Just the fact that these memories were revolutionary in thought… were valuable to the tech-museum, tells us everything we need to know here. Something wild and supra-subliminally magical is happening here.

My Thoughts on After Yang

Yang was not appreciated. He was loving. He was caring. And he was irrelevant. Until we learned just how special he was. We are curious about what makes up life… and yet, we more importantly learn that we mistake the point of life until it is over. And Yang understood, more than we do, what matters in life and how to truly be present. And that is the miracle of this movie. It’s about how to recognize what really matters before it’s gone. Unlike how Yang was treated.

New 2022 King of the Hill

In my last post, I predicted that The Batman would be the last King of the Hill… that there would be no way that a movie in 2022 would knock it off the pedestal. Cough. About that. The very next movie I watched… did just that. Our new THiNC. King of the Hill is After Yang. Why? Well, I’ll get into what it was so good later… but for now, suffice it to say, that After Yang is a level of brilliance and complexity that is rarely seen in movie making. The sheer number of ideas that it threw, effortlessly, and the way in which it showed, and did not tell anything… it’s really an atmospheric wonder to behold. (Want to peruse the King of the Hill movies so far? You can check them out right here.)

Edited by: CY