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‘Vesper’ Review: Resourceful European Sci-Fi Offers Glimmers of Beauty at the End of the World

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Guy Lodge Film CriticShould the apocalypse strike and any of us happen to survive it, you can’t accuse the movies of leaving us unprepared.

Dystopian futures are a dime a dozen in science-fiction cinema these days, with a generally shared aesthetic that leads us to expect, for better or (probably) worse, a lot of damp, ashy slurry and unflattering sackcloth.

In some ways “Vesper,” with its drenched khaki palette and all-encompassing air of ruin, conforms to this forecast. In others, Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper’s solemn, elegant fantasy surprises with its textured, sometimes iridescent world-building: There’s beauty to be found in this vision of Earth in a state of ecosystemic collapse, even if it’s hard-won and harder still to nurture.

Premiering in the main competition strand of this year’s Karlovy Vary festival, “Vesper” marks a long-awaited return to feature filmmaking for Lithuanian director Buozyte and her French writing partner Samper, now assuming a co-directing credit.

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