Every working critic has lived the nightmare of being trapped with a movie, of wanting nothing more than to escape and yet being unable to flee the theatre out of professional obligation. Now, a film festival in Sweden wants to provide an even more intense simulacrum of the experience for anyone interested in besting their claustrophobia.
The Göteborg Film Festival has announced an unlikely method for attendees to take in the sci-fi film Aniara. The adaptation of Harry Martinson’s celebrated poem will play at the festival normally after having premiered last year in Toronto, but a few lucky guests will be selected at random to see the film while sealed in what the festival coordinators have chosen to call a “sarcophagus”.
Though without the whole “Egyptian burial rites” aspect, they’re really more like boxes – albeit boxes equipped with A/V equipment, air vents, and a “panic button” for those viewers who start to feel the pale spectre of death closing in on them.
The experience has been designed to replicate the extraordinary conditions of Martinson’s text, which sees humanity leaving the spent remains of our planet on a fleet of densely populated spaceships. Looking back at the dying Earth on the journey to their new home on Mars, the surviving homo sapiens start to lose touch with all that makes us people, and the movie-casket offers a little taste of that same isolation to intrepid watchers.
As exhibition continues to diversify with boutique table-service and 4DX theatres that douse ticket holders with faux rain, perhaps this represents the next logical step in full immersion. It’s only a matter of time until A24 announces that all future screenings of Gaspar Noé’s upcoming Climax will be conducted as LCD-laced hell-raves.
The Göteborg Film Festival runs 25 January to 4 February. For more info visit goteborgfilmfestival.se
Published 8 Jan 2019
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