Is the world coming to an end? Temperatures and sea levels are rising, extreme weather is increasingly common. The reports keep coming in and there is an impending sense of doom. This is the backdrop to Göteborg Film Festival’s Focus: Apocalypse.
Researchers use the term ‘Anthropocene’ to refer to the geological era we now find ourselves in as mankind leaves its indelible tracks on the planet. Planet Earth is undergoing far-reaching changes and no one knows how humanity and our civilisation will adapt to these processes. The climate crisis is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced.
“With the festival’s Focus: Apocalypse, we are exploring how today’s filmmakers work with the existential, ethical and political aspects of this crisis. Perhaps more than any other art form, film has preoccupied itself with envisioning the apocalypse and post-apocalyptic situations, and perhaps it is precisely through such artistic imaginings that we can deal with civilisation’s presently critical state,” Jonas Holmberg, Artistic Director at Göteborg Film Festival, says.
In Focus: Apocalypse, Göteborg Film Festival will delve into how today’s filmmakers visualise the future against the backdrop of the climate crisis. What problems are they interested in? How do they portray the anxiety and the emotional, philosophical and political dilemmas facing the human species today, who must face up to the increasingly high likelihood of its own ruin? These questions will be expounded on and given much space in our seminar program.
Focus: Apocalypse will include a number of new feature and documentary films that in different ways illustrate the theme. One of the titles is the much-awaited film adaptation of Harry Martinson’s Aniara, directed by Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja, which will see its Nordic premiere as part of the festival’s Nordic Competition.
“It feels both completely right and absolutely wonderful that Aniara will have its Nordic premiere at Göteborg Film Festival. We have been visiting the festival since we were teenagers—both as moviegoers and as filmmakers. We put the finishing touches on Aniara this summer and then stepped right out into the extreme heat and the apocalypse was a fact. But the odd thing about the end of the world is how low the intensity is: how anticlimactic it feels and how incomprehensible it is. We are expecting our first child now and it’s the same thing there. You can’t really grasp it—time goes by and suddenly there’s a bump on your stomach. Although the kid is on its way out, mankind’s time on Earth doesn’t necessarily have to be. We still believe there is hope. But of course we have to recognise that things are serious now,” the directors Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja say.
Have a look below at five of the films included in Focus: Apocalypse. Additional titles will be presented upon release of the program on January 8.
Directors: Pella Kågerman och Hugo Lilja
Several already traumatised people escaping a planet in ruins in the hope of finding solace on Mars, experience what was not allowed to happen when their space ship suddenly veers off course. Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja’s film adaptation of Harry Martinson’s world-renowned “Aniara: A Review of Man in Time and Space” situates the story alarmingly close to our time. Trailer.
Director: Benedikt Erlingsson
The choir director Halla becomes radicalised and turns into an armed ecoterrorist in a lonely struggle against the aluminium industry. Celebrated Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson’s (Of Horses and Men, 2013) masterful, Cannes-awarded climate-comedy is Iceland’s contribution to next year’s Oscars. Trailer.
Director: John Andreas Andersen
Skyscrapers collapse and whole streets split apart as nature displays its might in Oslo. The most powerful disaster film ever made in the Nordic countries combines an intimate family drama with startling images of destruction, which come together to remind us of what we have to lose. Trailer.
Director: Ulrich Köhler
A melancholic apocalyptic drama about the TV cameraman Armin, who wakes up one day to a world without people. Suggestively and ominously, but not without humour, the German director Ulrich Köhler illustrates a post-apocalyptic plight where modern society and its monuments are slowly consumed by nature. Trailer.
Director: Carolina Hellsgård
Two women on the run from hordes of zombies struggle for survival in a post-apocalyptic Germany. Swedish director Carolina Hellsgård finds a glimmer of light in a world in ruins across this intimate and philosophical portrayal of friendship, hope and zombie apocalypse. Trailer.