Viewers may be put off by the slow pace but they would be missing a compelling depiction of loneliness and displacement…
Futuro Beach begins with an arresting opening; two motorcyclists roar their way towards a beach, disembark and run into the powerful looking waves.We cut to them thrashing around in the water, disappearing beneath the surface and struggling to keep air in their lungs. This is no ordinary and tame depiction of drowning, we can almost viscerally feel the desperation of those on screen as they flail and splutter, kicking about in an inelegant and desperate way. By the time two lifeguards arrive the whole scene feels so chaotic that we don’t really understand what’s happening until it is too late and one of the swimmers is lost beneath the waves. So begins a film about displacement and relationships in which the lead character is both literally and figuratively submerged as he moves through various stages of connectedness and disconnectedness with those closest to him and travels away from his home land of Brazil.
In the aftermath of the beach scene a relationship forms between a lifeguard and the man who survived the sea. Following the film’s preference for communicating opaquely through its visuals these two men don’t verbalise the depths of their feelings for each other, instead we learn far more about them when we watch their body language than we can ever hope to via their dialogue together. What’s most refreshing isn’t that this film tells a story free from that oh so prevalent slowly paced indie approach where every shot seems twice as long as it would be in a Hollywood movie, because it isn’t. Instead it rejoices in that approach. What is refreshing though is that this is a film which knows how to do that approach right. So many indie films are slowly paced for no genuinely discernible reason; they mistake the removal of narrative as adding sincerity. Aïnouz in contrast knows what he is doing and paints an often moving portrait of emotion with visual flair and courage.
Futuro Beach isn’t quite as good as it could have been. The relationships between the characters aren’t explored enough for that and there is a slight tone of detachment which holds as an audience back from being completely immersed in the lives of these characters. However this is still a well executed and intelligently written story about living within another culture and the sacrifices one makes for love. You rarely can predict where the story is going to take you and bold narrative decisions work well alongside a strong display of visual storytelling.
Futuro Beach is out in the UK now! Will you be checking it out? Let us know in the comment box below!