Toronto After Dark 2019: Blood Machines (2019) – Raphael Hernandez & Savitri Joly-Gonfard

With a Carpenter-esque score by Carpenter Brut no less, and a heavy influence of the classic Heavy Metal magazine, the English language French entry into the Toronto After Dark film festival has one real flaw.

It’s too short.

We are introduced into a very-lived in world, with a fantastic seamless blend of practical and computer generated images, and it is undeniably Heavy Metal in all the best ways of the original magazine and first film; there is violence, sexuality, adventures in space, brushing up against the unknown, and oh so many questions.

I don’t want to talk to much about the plot, or the characters, it’s best to discover those on your own, but from the off, this is a fully realized world, everything works according to the laws of that universe, even if all the characters aren’t aware of it, and it’s fun to watch it play out.

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In broad strokes the story follows two hunters, Vascan (Anders Heinrichsen) and is older partner, Lago (Christian Erickson) who are in pursuit of a downed ship, and the A.I. that runs it. An encounter with some strange female scavengers causes strange metaphysical things to happen and the pair find themselves in a realm that they don’t understand.

It’s a fascinating, hallucinogenic, if all too short, watch and it plays with religious themes as well as those of power and the patriarchy (even with all the female nudity). The story references things that contribute to the film’s climax, which is either the next stage in the hinted at robot war, or the evolution of man and machine.

I think we’re supposed to come walking out of this one not quite sure what we’ve seen at the time, but to ruminate on it, and marvel at the way the story unfolds. I won’t lie, I quite enjoyed this one, only wishing that it had been filled out a little more to be longer. I would have loved to explored more of this world, see some of the planets and cultures that inhabited them.

You may like it, you may not, but it’s a great watch, and this is another example of why Toronto After Dark is so amazing, and important… it brings us genre films and filmmakers from all over the globe, presenting their views on things, which in course fires our own imagination and views…

Check this one out, and talk about it. Love it, hate… share it. And perhaps I’ll see you After Dark!

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