In 2012, Mars One announced that in 2023 people could be able to go to Mars. Some of us jumped on the first change they’ve got to sign up while others wanted to stay with their two feet on Earth.
The Swedish author Harry Martinson probably saw this coming as in 1956 he wrote “Aniara”, a poem about a trip from Earth to Mars. Directors Pella Kagerman (“Supportern”, “Stormaktstiden”) and Hugo Lilja (“Återfödelsen”, “Supportern”) loved his work and turned it into their latest movie. The result: An unique, beautiful, emotional packed and intriguing film. Read our interview with the directors here.
“We hope you’ve had a pleasant ascent and wish you a happy, new life on Mars”. These are one of the first few words spoken in “Aniara”.
Going to Mars seems such a big step into the unknown but the new inhabitants of the Aniara have put at ease thanks to the Captain Chefone (Arvin Kananian), his crew and the engineers of the spaceship.
They made it look like it could be a very beautiful place on Earth: Lots of green space, boutiques, hairdresser, clubs, etc. Aniara has it all! Life’s going well for the people and the acclimatisation to their new home is not as hard as they thought.
However, that peace changes drastically when the spacecraft is knocked off course. The heartbreaking aftermath: The trip to Mars will last two years instead of the originally planned 27 days.
This causes a lot of distress, anger, and frustration amongst the citizens and Mimaroben (Emelie Jonsson) feels no different.
While she’s trying to make sure that the people can go back to the calm state-of-mind, she knows deep down that the arrival on Mars and the potential return to Earth might never happen.
The residents of the Ariana are doing everything they can to live their lives as they would do on Earth: Making new friends, finding love, partying and even giving birth.
Sadly, even in outer space, there’s also pain, loss, and death, which are taking the upper hand more and more. It becomes almost unbearable for the people and there’s even room for rebellions.
Will the Captain be able to restore the serenity and trust so that the mission can go ahead or is the destruction of the Aniara inevitable?
During our interview with Arvin Kananian, he mentioned that, after he concluded that acting was more than a hobby, he went to every audition he could. He even trained at the Actors College in London.
All that hard work and love for the profession is visible in his performance as Chefone. In the original poem was only one page dedicated to the Captain so Kananian needed to give him more depth, background, and emotional capability.
Thanks to his astonishing, emotional and alluring performance, he clearly succeed in that. Alongside him, we see the fascinating, stunning and highly versatile Emelie Jonsson (“Gentlemen & Gangsters”, “Gentlemen”) as the vulnerable and passionate but also headstrong and determined Mimaroben. Her screams of loss and heartbreak will stick with you for a long time.
While there are many new citizens of Ariana, the film is just a triangle relationship (whether it’s a professional or intimate one) between Chefone, Mimaroben, and Isagel (played by the remarkable Bianca Cruzeiro).
At first, Isagel seems rough-tough and incomprehensible but thanks to Mimaroben and of course the emotional performance from Cruzeiro (“Vinden blåser vart den vill”, “Comedians”), we can also see her more sensitive side.
In a film about going to Mars, there’s little chance the movie will be shot on a location and so it’s always the challenge to make it look as real as possible.
Because of that, it was a very wise choice from the directors to make Aniara look like Earth. Whether it’s in a real shopping mall, in an existing and massive auditorium or a vibrant nightclub. It gives that authentic vibe.
Kananian told us that during his auditorium scenes there were between 80 and 100 extras and that in post production, more people were added.
While watching those moments we couldn’t see which figurants were real and which weren’t so we want to applaud the postproduction and SFX teams for all the immensely hard work. Not only for those scenes but also for the entire film.
There are a lot of moments in “Aniara” that are only built by emotions and sound. The cast provides those emotions wonderfully and also the sound is spot on.
Calm music when everything is going fine but when more the dark and troubled time are lurking around the corner, the used music creates a more chaotic and turbulent vibe.
Is there life on Mars? According to Harry Martinson, Pella Kagerman and Hugo Lilja that could surely be the case. Great actors such as Emelie Jonsson, Arvin Kananian and Bianca Cruzeiro are being sent up to space and together with stunning cinematography, an incredibly special story and impeccable technique from both cast and crew, this film is turned into a tremendous one. Buckle up because you’re going one hell of a ride.
“Aniara” is released in Cinemas and on Digital HD from 30th August