Milwaukee Film Festival 2016: Embers
By Andrea Thompson
One of the most important questions we will ever ask is who we are, and one of the greatest obstacles we can face is not having an answer. What happens when everything that made you is wiped clean? Amnesia is not a new phenomenon, either in life or in cinema. But the movie “Embers” takes this concept to extremes by showing us a dystopian future where an infection has not only erased everyone's memories, but made it impossible for people to build new ones. In this ravaged world, characters wander aimlessly, searching for safe harbor. A couple wakes up intertwined together and is unable to remember each other's names as well as their own. A young boy searches for a safe home with a loving adult. A father and daughter still retain their memories in an isolated bunker, but are starting to come apart from the pressures of complete isolation. A man in an isolated cabin tries to find a cure. Angry young men indulge their every violent whim. What emerges is mostly a depressing story of people trying to build lives when all the needed ingredients are almost impossible to find. But “Embers” indicates that even when everything is taken from us, hope, love, and even connection can still flourish.