Aniara (Movie Review)

To our knowledge, Earth is the only home humans have ever known. That in mind, what happens when Earth can no longer sustain it all and mankind is forced to leave? Will the new home fair any better? Writers/Directors Pella Kagerman (The Swedish Supporter 2011, Stormaktstiden 2014) and Hugo Lija (The Unliving 2010, The Swedish Supporter 2011) raise these questions in the new Swedish film Aniara. Set for release in theaters and on iTunes Friday, May 17th through Magnolia Pictures, this is a Sci-Fi Drama that should not be overlooked.  

Aniara still.

It has finally happened, Earth has become a wasteland and human life can no longer be sustained. The people that remain are seeking refuge to Mars. The Aniara, piloted by Chefone (Arvin Kananian: Spring Tide 2016, Maste Gitt 2017), is just another passenger spacecraft aiding with the three week journey to relocate to the new home planet. It is equipped with all of the luxuries of a high end cruise ship. One of the many amenities is the Mima Hall run by MR (Emelie Jonsson: Gentlemen 2014, Gentlemen & Gangsters 2016). In it contains a sentient computer that allows an almost spiritual vison of Earth for those interested or in need to help with the transition.

The unthinkable soon happens as the spacecraft is hit by space debris. The ship is now off course and the pilots no longer have control over the steering. Instead of a leisurely three week cruise to Mars, the crew and passengers are now on a dark endless drift into the voids of space. MR and her Mima suddenly become the heart of the ship as people try and come to terms with this depressing new fate. The crew including Isagel (Bianca Cruzeiro The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared 2013, The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth 2017) and house Astronomer (Anneli Matini Hammarkullen 1997, Solsidan 2015) scramble to find a way home. Chefone and his crew are forced to try and maintain order while trying to figure out a solution to their problem. He is not outwardly concerned because, “The fact is…we’ve built our own little planet.”

Will they respect the Aniara as home better than they did Earth? Will the Aniara ever find its way to their new home planet? Or will they be destined to be destroyed, just like Earth that they were desperately trying to evacuate?

Aniara still.

Based off the poem written by Swedish Nobel laureate, Harry Martinson, Aniara succeeds in spades with character evolution yet are still wholly detached from anything. Though not much is known about each of the many characters onscreen, the progress is evident as the time passes. It is realistic as time and new knowledge does change people. All of the passengers on the ship are stuck without much hope and without access to true sunlight. It is only accurate that attitudes and certain roles would change and diminish over time.

Jonsson’s MR is a prime example. It is very clear in the beginning that her role and the Mima are just another attraction that exists on the ship. Not many people seek her out during the voyage. As soon as the ship goes off course and panic she is suddenly one of the most important people on board as the Mima is the only way to quell the anxiety that stirs within all of them. The scenes where she is alone crying speak volumes as the weight of their small world is suddenly firmly on her shoulders.

Aniara still.

The overlying theme to Aniara seems as a warning of what mankind’s future might hold if steps are not taken to protect and nurture the planet that has sustained us. Earth is the only planet currently known that humans can live and flourish on, yet over time Earth has not been treated as kindly as it should be. Though there is a current push to try and protect the planet, Aniara serves as a warning that it just might be too little too late. Seeing the deterioration of the spacecraft and those aboard attitudes as years floating through space with no hope go by, it is a direct condemnation of human’s complacency and assumption that the Earth will always exist and be enough to sustain. The film is just another of the many warnings that nothing on this Earth-the Earth itself-should never be taken for granted.

Aniara subtly and epically reminds that we all should do what we can to take care of our home. There is only one Earth, and once it is gone, all is lost. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Aniara 4 out of 5 stars.

Magnolia Pictures

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