Rather than a gem, John Huddles’ “After the Dark” (original titled “The Philosophers”) is a diamond in the rough — but there’s more rough here than diamond. Still, the premise is intriguing, and so is the setting: an international school in Jakarta on the final day of class.
Philosophy teacher Mr. Zimit (James D’Arcy) poses one last question to his 21 ace students (including Bonnie Wright from “Harry Potter” and Daryl Sabara from “John Carter”): Supposing there’s a nuclear catastrophe and they have only a few minutes to decide which 10 of them could evacuate to a nearby shelter, who would it be?
The students are randomly assigned professions like “opera singer” and “organic farmer,” and they begin by discussing the hierarchical values of their imagined job skills. But the experiment begins to merge with reality, teen love blooms and the whole thing turns into a fight for survival. The finale is a muddle compared to the brilliant Cartesian logic displayed in the first half-hour.
“After the Dark” is showing from May 17 to June 13, as part of the Cinema Qualite Collection, at Cinema Qualite in Shinjuku.