Sunday, December 01, 2013

"Il Futuro": teen orphans see a "future" in the home of a blind aging movie star; the world outside may let them down

The Future” (or “Il Futuro” in Italian), is a new film by Alician Scherson , based on a novel “Una novelita lumpen” by Chilian writer Roberto Bolano, places a young woman, orphaned and more or less responsible for her enterprising teen brother, on a dangerous “road trip” after a family tragedy, the loss of the kids’ parents in a car wreck (in Rome).  The teens (Bianca [Manuela Martelli], 19 and Tomas [Luigi Ciardo], 16, are supposed to get income from their parents’ pension or life insurance, soon.  But in the mean time, they have to scrape by. The social worker suggests that Bianca could take legal custody of her younger brother.
Tomas seems enterprising, and interested in video, computer hacking, and body building. He’s quite attractive while “skinny” but wants the self-confidence that bulk and money would bring. In the world of the poor, others have their riches just because of luck.  Why should there be any rules?
Actually, though, there’s more.  Apparently both kids would have promising futures if their world didn’t cave in on them. Bianca has become photosensititve, taken up smoking, and fears the end of the world from some unspecified astronomical disaster.  That sets up a weird feeling, out of the world or David Lynch or Lars van Trier, although the film (at 98 minutes) never takes us very far into strangeness. 
Bianca stars working as a hairdresser, and Tomas hangs out around a gym, as a trainee.  Soon Tomas brings home a couple of older men who have a scheme of robbing the home of a local rich former Mr. Universe, Maciste (Rutger Hauer), who has starred in a number of B-movie spectacles but is now blind. They launch a plan for Bianca to offer to work as a prostitute to gain access to the house.  About halfway into the movie, Bianca meets the elder movie star and actually starts to fall for him.  That part is hard to believe, but it makes for good plotting.
The film, then, comes across as an exercise in storytelling for its own sake, a director’s and writer’s interest in entering a world (or creating one) in which they will not appear as characters themselves.  It’s all manipulation. The title of the movie is a metaphor:  Bianca’s “future” may lie just in the old star’s home, because the rest of the world is going to destroyed.  At the end, there is a suggestion that something may happen (like a solar storm), but the film leaves us to wonder.  (My own story, “The Ocelot the Way He Is”, has a road trip right before a global disaster, but I let the reader know that the catastrophe will happen and change lives for good, so the protagonist needs to “get what he wants” after relinquishing any hope for a “walk-off win” in life.)
The movie opens in the manner of “film noir”, with a Hitchcock-like music score, but the movie doesn’t quite keep that pace.
The Sundance site for the film is here
The Strand Releasing DVD goes on sale DVD.  I watched a private screener on Vimeo.  The film has no relation to "The Future" by Miranda July, reviewed here Aug. 5, 2011 (sorry, no cute feline in this newer film).    

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