Films & Schedules

  • Afterwards

  • Gilles Bourdos

English, French
107 minutes

Production Company:
Fidélité Films/Christal Films Productions/ Akkord Film Produktion GmbH/ Wild Bunch/M6 Films
Executive Producer:
Christine de Jekel
Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier
Michel Spinosa, Gilles Bourdos, based on the novel Et après... by Guillaume Musso
Production Designer:
Anne Pritchard
Mark Ping Bing Lee
Valérie Deseine
Pierre Mertens
Alexandre Desplat
Principal Cast: Romain Duris, John Malkovich, Evangeline Lilly, Pascale Bussieres, Reece Thompson

Canadian Distributor:
Seville Pictures
International Sales Agent:
Wild Bunch

Sunday September 0703:15PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1309:15PM VARSITY 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Sometimes, simply the presence of John Malkovich onscreen is enough to unsettle. His mastery of surprising rhythms and the unnerving power of suspense have produced memorable performances for decades. In Afterwards, director Gilles Bourdos deploys the Malkovich sensation to tremendous effect. This is a stylish thriller with a sting.

Nathan Del Amico (Romain Duris, from Arsène Lupin) is a New York lawyer whose professional success led him to neglect his wife (Evangeline Lilly, in her first major film role) and daughter. But there may be even more pressing problems. A childhood accident, shown in bracing flashback, almost killed Nathan. In fact, he may actually have been dead, if only for a moment. As an adult, he encounters the mysterious Doctor Kay (Malkovich), who claims he can sense when someone is about to die. Acting as a “messenger,” Kay's job is to warn the doomed to put their lives in order before it is too late. Of course, Nathan does not believe any of this – until events shake his certainty.

Based on the novel Et après... by Guillaume Musso, Afterwards is a moody metaphysical thriller. As Kay's warnings begin to get under his skin, Nathan sees signs of his impending death everywhere. Around Nathan, Bourdos creates stark environments that menace in the way Stanley Kubrick's empty spaces do. In the hands of cinematographer Mark Ping Bing Lee (known for Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love), even the saturated colours begin to threaten. The exquisite score by Alexandre Desplat (Lust, Caution) deepens the mood.

Bourdos previously adapted Ruth Rendell's novel A Sight for Sore Eyes as Inquiétudes. With this new film, he advances his skills as a director of suspense and establishes a sustained tone of gathering unease. It would be unfair to give too much away, but regardless of what one believes about the line between life and death, when Afterwards reaches its conclusion, it is a deeply satisfying one.

Cameron Bailey

Gilles Bourdos was born in Nice and is a writer, director and producer. His short films include L'Éternelle idole (89) and Relâche(93). He has written and directed the features Disparus (98), Inquiétudes(03) and Afterwards (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award