Gripping Swedish feature debut embraces the existential possibilities of sci-fi cinema

ANIARA DISC D: Pella Kågerman, Hugo Lilja. Sweden. 106 min. Sep 7, 6 pm, Scotiabank 11 Sep 9, 9:30 pm, Scotiabank 8 Sep 15, 5:45 pm, Scotiabank 11. See listing. Rating: NNNN

When an accident disables their ship and sends it hurtling into deep space, the passengers and crew of a luxury space ark must face the possibility that their three-week journey may stretch into months or even years in the gripping feature debut from Swedish short filmmakers Kågerman and Lilja.

Based on Harry Martinson’s epic poem, ANIARA focuses on the experiences of MR (Emelie Jonsson), a technician trying to keep calm and carry on as the situation grows increasingly grim. And as it does, ANIARA embraces the existential possibilities of sci-fi cinema.

I didn’t know the world needed a stark European riff on Douglas Trumbull’s Silent Running and Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise… but take it from me: we did, and now we’ve got it.

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