ANIARA is that quintessential festival discovery film you will not want to miss this year at TIFF 2018. Helmed by a female co-director with a lead female protagonist, this fascinating Swedish science fiction film will keep you on the edge of your seat while contemplating our current existence on Earth.
The world premiere of ANIARA, a Swedish psychological space epic by directors Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja will debut in the DISCOVERY section at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.
Based on the sci-fi adaptation by Swedish Nobel Prize-winning author Harry Martinson, Aniara is a spaceship in the distant future transporting settlers to Mars, abandoning a nearly uninhabitable Earth. When space debris cause a near collision, Aniara is forced off course. What was meant to be a three week journey is now expected to take several years. Gradually, the likelihood that they will ever reach their destination begins to shrink.
ABOUT THE FILM
Based on a prescient epic poem by Swedish Nobel Prize winner Harry Martinson, Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja’s astounding and eerie film, ANIARA, charts the fate of the human race after they have destroyed the planet. One of several ships launched into space to start anew on Mars, titled Aniara, is designed to meet the needs of a species that has just consumed its birthplace: it’s a giant shopping mall. When an accident knocks the ship off course and disables its steering, the likelihood that these once-sanguine colonizers will ever reach their destination gradually begins to shrink.
A caustic portrait of humanity’s capacity for self-delusion, self-abuse, and consumption, ANIARA follows the ship’s passengers as they deal with uncertainty and dread but continue to indulge their appetites whenever and however they can.
The protagonist, Mr. (Emelie Jonsson), runs a room where a sentient computer allows humans to experience near-spirit-ual memories of the planet. Before the accident, no one is interested. There’s shopping to be done. After the accident, the passengers can’t get enough, and the psychological weight of their anxiety and aggression drives the computer to depression. Mr tries to carve out a meaningful life given the circumstances and finds herself buffeted by the changes the micro-society experiences, from the deterioration of the ship’s command to the rise of deranged cults.
Directed and adapted by Kågerman and Lilja with skill and astonishing ingenuity, the film veers from satire to action, and horror to tragedy, almost effortlessly. ANIARA is an exemplary, timely work of speculative fiction.