Entertainment

‘Claustrophobic cinema.’ Film festival will screen sci-fi thriller inside coffins

Sweden’s Goteborg Film Festival will lock moviegoers inside coffins next week for special screenings of a dystopian sci-fi film called “Aniara.” The event is touted as “the world’s most claustrophobic cinema.” (YouTube screengrab)
Sweden’s Goteborg Film Festival will lock moviegoers inside coffins next week for special screenings of a dystopian sci-fi film called “Aniara.” The event is touted as “the world’s most claustrophobic cinema.” (YouTube screengrab)

The Goteborg Film Festival in Sweden has invited volunteers to be locked inside coffins this weekend to watch the apocalyptic sci-fi movie, “Aniara,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“We like to find new places and new ways to experience cinema,” festival director Jonas Holmberg told THR.

He calls the event “sarcophagus screenings.”

So many questions. First one: What do you do if you have to go the bathroom or need popcorn? Bang on the lid and yell, “let me out?”

“The reason for the unusual (to say the least) screening environment would seem to be a desire to physically approximate the atmosphere the movie is trying to evoke,” writes SyFy.com.

“Aniara is based on a 1956 novel-length poem by Swedish writer Harry Martinson, in which a spaceship transporting colonists to Mars from a climate-ravaged Earth is knocked off course by a collision with an asteroid.

“Ejected from the solar system itself, the colonists realize that they will never be able to return and will drift in the cold void of interstellar space forever.”

But there’s not a chance one Barstool Sports blogger is watching it from inside a coffin.

“My local movie theater was one of the first to adopt the super comfy leather recliners and it honestly changed how I went to the ole’ cinema. I could never go back to the normal seats once I sat in those and put up my feet. Now we’re talking coffins?” wrote the blogger named Hubbs, just Hubbs.

“I think I would go about seven minutes before having a full-on panic attack, and that might be generous. What if you have to pee? These things are locked shut.”

The folks at AV Club gave a similar no-thank-you.

“Sweden’s Goteborg Film Festival has, since its inception in 1979, grown into Scandinavia’s largest film event,” notes the entertainment website.. “The organizers, however, apparently feel there aren’t nearly enough lunatics attending, as they’ve decided to hold ‘an extremely intimate screening’ inside a god dang coffin...

“Sure, the air will thin out and you’ll probably begin panicking once the walls start closing in, but, hey, at least you won’t be able to see the guy texting in the next coffin over.”

AV Club remembers a “similar stunt” at the Fantastic Fest in 2010 for a screening of the Ryan Reynolds movie, “Buried.” Reynolds played an American truck driver attacked while working in Iraq who gets buried alive inside a coffin, according to the movie’s IMDB page.

This is how the “Buried with BURIED” stunt was described in the press release MTV published.

“Four participants were selected to be sealed and buried in custom built coffins to watch the entire film. After signing waivers, the girls were blindfolded and had burlap sacks placed over their heads. They were driven in silence to a location 30 minutes outside of Austin. Only after they had been placed inside their coffins were they allowed to remove the blindfolds,” said the press release.

“The custom-built coffins had LCD monitors fixed to the inside of the lid. Some extra goodies were put in place during the show, including a port hole where fake snakes and sand were dumped into the coffins periodically.”

The coffins in Sweden will also be outfitted with viewing monitors and “just in case, each has a red panic button,” THR reports. Staff members will also be close by, organizers told the website.

“It’s an experiment,” Holmberg told THR. “At Goteborg we like to find new places and new ways to experience cinema. But we really have no idea how people will react.”

IMDB says the movie lasts about an hour and 45 minutes.

Following the sneak preview in Austin of his new film "It Comes at Night," the Texas-born director lists some of the films that influenced him. (Video by Cary Darling)

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