CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Film fest's grave proposition: Watch sci-fi film from inside a coffin

Yes, it's isolating, but at least you won't have to listen to fellow moviegoers who can't stop yapping.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
  • Third place film critic, 2021 LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards
Leslie Katz
2 min read

To mark its 40th anniversary, Sweden's Göteborg Film Festival will hold "an extremely intimate screening" of a sci-fi movie. How intimate? Well, let's just say coffins don't generally have a ton of space for stretching.

The video teaser for the "world's most claustrophobic cinema" shows a terrified-looking Meghan Markle lookalike walking through dark corridors until she comes upon a cavernous room containing a single sarcophagus. The footage then shows her from the inside of the tomb, breathing heavily, touching the top of the small, dark compartment with shaky hands and definitely not looking like she's enjoying a relaxing afternoon at the cinema.

Aniara, the film that viewers will watch in the confined space, is a 2018 adaptation of a science fiction poem by Nobel Prize winner Harry Martinson about space colonists who leave an Earth ravaged by extreme weather, only to find cosmic travel presents its own problems. In the 106-minute Swedish movie, a spaceship carrying settlers to Mars is knocked off course, causing the passengers to consider their place in the universe.

Watching the action from the custom-made sarcophagus will presumably give viewers a sense of what's it like to be alone in space, totally isolated from the outside world. It might feel lonely and restrictive in the box, but at least you won't have to deal with those annoying audience members who spend the whole film talking and texting.

"We want to explore what happens when you watch a film in extreme conditions," the festival says of the experience, which runs at the international fest in Gothenburg from Jan. 27-31.

The Göteborg Film Festival attracts more than 160,000 visitors annually, according to the website, though only a limited number will get to swap a seat for a sarcophagus. Those interested in the opportunity can share their email on the festival site for a chance to get a ticket. The site doesn't list a price, but I've reached out to the festival for comment. 

"Limited space available," the video teaser ends (get it?). "Book now." 

Culture: Your hub for everything from film and television to music, comics, toys and sports.

Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers.