Film review: Futura | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, October 26th, 2021  

Futura

Studio: Grasshopper Film
Dir(s): Pietro Marcello, Francesco Munzi, Alice Rohrwacher

Oct 11, 2021 Web Exclusive
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“What are your hopes for the future?” is such a complex question that the Italian documentary Futura needs three directors to tackle its subject matter.

In early 2020, the directors began driving around Italy to different regions to interview groups of teenagers on camera on a variety of topics, including money, love, and their future. The documentarians rarely interject when the camera is focused on the teenagers. Their goal is to let them speak freely, which leads to captivating results.

The concept of Futura became complicated a few months after the start of filming due to the pandemic putting Italy into strict lockdown. The film awkwardly jumps forward a few months to the summer of 2020. The directors re-acquaint themselves with the adolescents interviewed in the beginning of the film, but the questions they initially asked now take on an entirely different perspective. This is particularly evident in how the subjects’ opinions and thoughts have changed within the span of only a few months.

The greatest success of Futura is the diversity of the film’s subjects and spaces. Even so, at a lengthy 105-minute runtime, the film often walks around in circles. It doesn’t capture the same idea twice, but by exploring so many similar ideas, the film’s narrative blurs together. This is partially due to its plain and tiring structure, which relies on interviews and not much more.

One of Futura’s unique qualities is that the directors often interview the young adults in their friend groups, rather than through one-on-one interviews. The interviewees’ interactions with one another make for some of Futura’s most authentic moments. One of the film’s memorable sequences involves two members of a friend group fighting over the idea of whether the world would be better if money didn’t exist. Scenes like this capture the natural dynamic of these young adults.

Still, there is an inherent lack of depth when interviewing multiple people. Subjects can choose to evade the question(s). And when someone from the group does talk, their comment is often forgotten as more members of the group share their thoughts. The film jumps from one group to another, making it extremely difficult to differentiate most of the ideas that are being relayed.

Futura has some standout comments on the communal fears and confusions of Italy’s youth. The documentary, which is shot on film, also looks absolutely beautiful. But the film’s lack of focus is what holds it back, delivering too many shallow moments and failing to dive deep when the subjects’ dialogues call for it. Futura would work better as a short documentary (www.filmlinc.org/nyff2021/films/futura/)

Author rating: 5.5/10

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