When a devastated climate renders Earth uninhabitable, populations have departed for a new home on Mars, ferried over in journeys aboard large space transports. When one such ship, the Aniara enters space, it holds all the comforts of home — recreation centers, shopping, and other amenities to distract passengers on their 23-day journey, as well as a hi-tech AI system that offers relaxing memory immersions, operated by the ship’s steward MR.
But when a collision with space debris throws Aniara irreversibly off course shortly after its departure, the ship is transformed into a living tomb as passengers begin to realize that their journey will never end. As they attempt to come to terms with their new fate — now destined to play out their existence while drifting into an endless void — they become increasingly dependent on the ship’s AI services, the only source of a now spiritual-seeming human comfort. And as depression and existential despair begin to mount into full-blown insanity, pressure builds on MR to prevent the ship from descending into uncontrollable chaos.
Adapted from Swedish Noble laureate Harry Martinson’s 1956 epic poem, Aniara presents an engrossing study of humanity’s time on Earth as caught in a microcosm — and a reminder that we are all responsible for the consequences of our actions. Directed by Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja (Sweden, 2018)
Special thanks to Magnolia Pictures. Aniara opens theatrically on May 17 at the IFC Center and select cities across the U.S.
“Intense drama and raw observations on the species weave together into a vividly compelling tale contrasting our outer ambitions and inner limitations” —Film School Rejects
“Swedish existential dread in outer space, with a suicidal AI, ritualistic orgies and a giant galactic shopping mall: this striking first feature from Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja is a work of daunting ambition.”—Screen International
“Aniara is at once grounded and philosophical, fantastical and banal.”—Variety
About the Directors
Pella Kågerman is educated at the Royal Institute of Art and Hugo Lilja at the National College of Film & Television, both in Stockholm, Sweden. They have collaborated since 2009. In the UK they are represented by ITG and in the U.S. by WME.
Together they created The Unliving, a philosophical zombie short, that won prizes at Berlinale, Sitges, Clermont-Ferrand and other film festivals. Aniara is their first feature film.
May 13, 2019
May 13, 2019