What makes you you? Claire Carré's thoughtful sci-fi film Embers is set a decade after a virus has left humanity suffering from both retrograde and anterograde amnesia — the soap-opera kind and the Memento kind, respectively. Wandering through the blighted, sparsely populated landscape are disparate characters such as the pair of lovers (Jason Ritter and Iva Gocheva) who have to start from scratch every morning and a not-quite-feral kid (Silvan Friedman) who's taken in by a former professor (Tucker Smallwood) who may be on the verge of rediscovering memory. Meanwhile, quarantined from the virus in a high-tech underground bunker with her father (Roberto Cots), teenager Miranda (Greta Fernández) yearns to escape into the outside world, even though she knows that would mean losing her memories in the process.
A lovely meditation on identity and the difficulties of personal connection, Embers is a descendent of Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker in both tone and mise en scène, a connection made manifest by an early scene with a fellow (Matthew Goulish) who's a dead ringer for that film's title character. Embers ends without answering all the questions it raises, or firing all the (metaphorical) guns it introduces, but that's fitting: In a world without permanent memory, you may quickly forget that you're bleeding out.
Claire CarréJason Ritter, Iva Gocheva, Greta Fernández, Tucker Smallwood, Karl Glusman, Silvan Friedman, Roberto Cots, Dominique Swain, Matthew GoulishCharles Spano, Claire CarréCharles Spano