In Pella Kagerman’s new co-directed and co-written Swedish movie Aniara, Earth is in dystopia. People are evacuated from their homes and are preparing to join other family on their new planet, Mars. (SYJ:4/5)
Review written by FF2 Media Intern Sophia Y. Jin
A mass of people ascend on a futuristic elevator up to a spaceship that is stationed in the atmosphere right above Earth. Once the elevator arrives, “Mimaroben” (Emelle Jonsson) exits to take up her station as a worker aboard the ship ‘Aniara’. The passengers are wandering on Aniara and becoming accustomed to their home for the next three weeks, which is the length of their travel to Mars. Meanwhile, Mimaroben is gathering a small group of people for orientation with Mima. Aniara has access to people’s memories, and Mima is a virtual reality program that provides people with an otherworldly experience, which places them in an individualized environment on earth.
Initially, people have a good time shopping, clubbing, and mingling on Aniara, as though they were on a cruise ship. However, something crashes into the ship, which causes severe damage; Captain “Chefone” (Arvin Kananian) addresses the passengers and workers that the ship has gone off course and is now floating in space. Chefone reassures everyone onboard that once they reach a neighboring planet, the gravitational pull will help propel them back to the correct course, all of which should only take maximum two years. Naturally, people panic. To calm them down, Mimaroben takes them to relax with Mima.
Aniara is a self sustaining ship, where she grows algae for food and has a water purifying system. Mimaroben talks to her roommate, an “Astronomer” (Anneli Martini), about how they will be joining all the people on Mars soon. However, her roommate knows that it is impossible to get back on course: they’ll be floating forever. Thence begins the major deterioration of humanity. As the years pass by, the people are at various stages of survival as they try to cope with being lost in space. During this time, the audience can see contrasts in how people approach their impending doom. Mimaroben and her love interest “Isagel” (Bianca Cruzeiro) have very opposing mentalities.
Pella Kagerman’s movie Aniara shows the audience the different stages of a human psyche and how long they can survive stuck in space. It also shows the difference between the way people act with and without hope. Aniara seems to just be a floating Earth. It’s self sustainable, it has a population, even has a schooling system, and it’s possible to live on during an extended period of time. However, the concept of floating in space with no orbit of their own, and being surrounded by darkness can really drive people to insanity. Aniara is a philosophical film, that explores different attitudes. It keeps the audience intrigued throughout. The pictures of space and different nebulae are mesmerising. The acting manages to maintain a realistic sense, the degradation and deterioration was performed well, especially by the female lead, Emelle Jonsson.
Coach Katusha’s Comments:
Aniara is an incredibly reflective film. With the ship being a microcosm of the earth, Pella Kagerman’s dystopian science-fiction story truly takes us through the stages of human societal development.
Cinematography by Sophie Winqvist, Costume by Ellen Utterström, and Production Design by Linnéa Pettersson and Maja-Stina Åsberg, are all wonderful in setting us in this grim tale. Emelle Jonsson is very convincing as “Mimaroben”, and faithfully delivers a hopeful and persevering attitude.
This piece looks at the cycle of life, birth of faith, nepotism, totalitarianism, mental health, escapism, and so much more. It is with great skill that co-director and co-writer Kagerman manages to handle so many topics in such a cohesive manner. She brings us up close to the big unknowns of space, and forces us to think about philosophical questions such as: what is the purpose of life and why should we keep persevering? (KIZJ: 4.5/5)
© Sophia Y. Jin (05/22/19) FF2 Media
Does Aniara pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?
Yes, the characters talk about floating around in space.
Photo Credits: IMDb