Directors: Tayo Amos, Carmelo Chimera, John Crockett, Manaal Khan, Brian McCulley, Rebekah Wiggins
Plot: Journey through the human experience as the pandemic tests what we are made of both as individuals and as a culture.
Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Thoughts on After Masks
Hold On – Hold On follows Farida (Tayo Amos) a black woman who finds herself diving into the viral videos flying through the internet, driving her to move into the Black Lives Matter movement, going against the concerns of her friends and family that want her to remain safe, trying to develop her own safety, while getting caught up in the deeper conspiracy on the internet. This story is another one that could easily have gone down a deeper path which would have filled us with even more fear of what happened for a pandemic. 3/5
Quarantales – Quarantales follows a series of everyday people that are finding their lives change due to the pandemic, each one is looking to improve their dreams, unlock something about themselves to achieve in a time when they are given more time to push themselves. This is one of the more interesting ones because we want to see more from these characters as they are all looking to make themselves better. This is a story we could easily have dived even deeper into, as it does address the many different problems people are going through in life, let alone during the pandemic. 4/5
Winners – Winners starts by following ambitious social media influencer Arya (Alexandra Rodriguez) who is looking to take advantage of the added time in her life, she is following her pursuits, while dealing with the world being alone in her apartment, with her only contact being through a computer screen or over a phone, being away from ill loved one. As the isolation gets to Arya, she starts to see her once positive mindset crashing into a world of hopelessness and uncertainty. This story is one that ends up hitting hardest, because so many people tried to stay positive attitude being productive, only to see things come crashing down around them. 4/5
Ushering the Light – Ushering the Light follows Ari Blau (Brandon Shaffer) and Ada Blau (Drea Berg) who have lost their son and now find themselves trapped together as they are still going through the grieving process in their own way, one which is pushing their relationship, one that is stopping them being with their loved ones during their time off need. This one does bring us a more serious amount of pain to the characters, while it will bring the bigger side to the separation, it doesn’t feel long enough to make the impact. 3/5
Clownfish – Clownfish follows Jamie (Lindsay Sparks) who is dealing with the loss of her husband Jack, being left to grieve on her own, seeing the restriction bought upon her after his death. This one is the most confusing, as it follows the transformation which is going down as the odd one in the series of films. 2/5
Themes – After Masks brings us a series of stories about people who are struggling through the pandemic, each one has the biggest theme of isolation, something most of us would have gone through over the past year. As with most anthology films, we have some great, some average and some which needed more time to get the message over clearer. For the first four, we seem to have a contained story, which is easier to digest, while Quarantales does seem to open up too much, despite having just as important message, this chapter feels like they wanted to continue the short stories, but didn’t feel these characters were deep enough. This is a film you could get something out of each of the stories, even if you might not enjoy one, there are others to love.