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Strike down the abomination and clean the land.
Sometimes a film comes along and it’s just hard to describe to people. Heck, it’s even hard to describe it to your own self. That’s what I had when I was asked to review The Further Adventures of Anse and Bhule. It’s a post apocalyptic film. It’s a love story. It’s a story about friendship. It’s an arthouse picture. It’s a film where language has been altered, playing with dialects and words. And a film about people who believe in their faith and superstition but show that they might be able to change through learning and listening.
But what is the film about? It’s the story of a cult of men who survived the apocalypse and have been living underground for the last few decades. These men, who were once boys in a school when the cataclysm happened, have developed their own language because of all their varying backgrounds, religions, superstitions, etc. Through vision quests and rituals, they’ve realized they must travel the world and destroy the abominations, the sick on the planet, by crushing them and ridding their plague. They must make them clean for the brotherhood. This is where we’re introduced to Anse (Garfield Wedderburn) and Bhule (Daniel Hill), first as children and then as adults, going forth into the world to continue the quest to clean the world.
While this is occurring, we also meet Persephone (Kelly Tallent), who is in another enclave where they don’t kill the sick, but try to keep them comfortable until it’s their final days where they put them out of their misery. Persephone’s mother Margarette (Lorraine Bahr) is one of the sick ones and in a fever dream, escapes the enclave and runs out into the wasteland. Anse and Bhule meet her on their way, and while Anse is ready to do what must be done from their tribe, Bhule stops and notices she speaks. She is a ‘Her’, and Bhule had never seen a woman before (being too young to remember when the apocalypse happened). Sadly, while Bhule is ready to learn and is curious about what this woman is speaking about, Anse is quick to act and ultimately the mother dies. This brings these three characters together in a way they never imagined and a spiritual adventure I was glad to join them on.
This is a film unlike any other post apocalyptic films that I had seen. These types of films tend to be some of my favorites, so whenever something comes along that is new and I had never heard of, I’m quick to jump in without trying to find out any info about it. And this film, I went in as blindly as possible. And I have to say, this is definitely a film that is not for everybody. It is slow moving and an arthouse film to a tee. It’s not what I expected at all, but it was a refreshing thing from most films I tend to watch. Getting to learn the language (with help from subtitles), the relationship between Anse and Bhule, this mutual respect and love which is tested when Bhule starts to question and stray from all they’ve known for the last 20-30 years. It’s a lot more nuanced than other post apocalyptic films, and that puts it in a category of its own.
When it comes to a film that has actors who haven’t done as many films, sometimes that becomes worrisome. I have to say that this is not the case at all with this film. All the acting is great across the board, with the standouts being the main four characters that do the bulk of the dialogue. Garfield Wedderburn was fantastic as Anse and when I checked his IMDB page, I learned he is a stuntman for some big time movies, but I hope to see him act a lot more often because I can see him in a variety of roles. He’s very understated and stoic at times, but carries this charisma, even when he does an act that could make you hate someone. Kelly Tallent is very good as Persephone, who has a lot of stuff on her shoulders. Her mother is sick and all she wants to do is protect her. When that goes a certain way, she could give up, but her strength shines through. And Daniel Hill as Bhule has the toughest role ultimately. He has to be the main character, be naive in all of this crazy stuff happening in the world, and make you believe it and he does a great job in that department. I hope to see him in a lot more in the coming years.
The Further Adventures of Anse and Bhule has had a hell of a journey, just like the titular characters themselves. Barry Hunt, who directed the film, put the film up on Kickstarter back in 2010 to finish the film, which had already gotten an hour filmed and needed some more to make it a feature. An original screenplay by writer Tania Myren and with artists from the Sowelu Ensemble in Portland, Oregon that helped with this unique creation, an assumption would be that it might be rough around the edges. And ultimately, it’s a little rough, but that’s kind of what makes it work in the long run. We have people who envelop these roles, make them believable and keep you interested throughout all of their stories, wondering where it’s all going to end up. Having watched many of these types of films, you always hope for a happy ending when you like the characters. You’ll just have to watch the film to find out if everything works out in the end.
You can check it out now on Amazon Prime and I say go in with an open mind and expect some trippy visuals with a great story that could happen at any time in our world. I think that’s what ultimately makes me gravitate to this genre a lot more often than others. It’s scary because it could happen at any time, be it by nuclear weapons going off, a plague of some sort or something else entirely. It’s always something that can strike down and these films show us what an make or break a society. You always hope for the best in the end, but expect the worst when it comes about. Can Anse and Bhule survive this adventure? Watch the film and find out and chime in on what you thought of the film.