Futuro Beach (Praia do Futuro)

Directed by Karim Ainouz

Starring Wagner Moura, Clemens Schick, Jesuita Barbosa and Savio Ygor Ramos
In UK Cinemas May 8th, 2015

by Joanna Orland

Futuro Beach is a slow ambient mood piece that eventually delivers on its narrative, but it is quite an endurance test until it does.

Hypnotic more than gripping, Futuro Beach is a slow-burning drama of two strangers who are brought together through tragedy.  Divided into three chapters, the first features two German motorcyclists traveling through Brazil.  One becomes caught in a riptide and drowns, in spite of local lifeguard Donato’s (Moura) best efforts.  Donato is greatly affected by the tragedy, especially as he breaks the news to Konrad (Schick), the victim’s travel companion.  Konrad remains in Brazil while a search party is looking for his friend’s body.  Through their mutual grieving, Konrad and Donato begin a sexual relationship.  It is here in Brazil that we are also introduced to Donato’s brother Ayrton (Ramos) as the young 10-year-old boy who clearly idolizes the older Donato.

Chapter two sees the setting change from Brazil to Berlin as Donato has followed Konrad, with no explanation to his Brazilian family.  Donato feels sad and isolated, yet remains in Germany.  There is a strong element of the search for one’s identity and a sense of belonging, but through ambient storytelling rather than overt narrative.

Chapter three is the payoff.  A slow, subtle, but somewhat satisfying payoff.  Titled A German-Speaking Ghost, the third part takes place eight years later with Ayrton (now played by Barbosa) descending upon Berlin in search of his long lost brother.  Issues of identity and family are further explored, with Ayrton’s arrival providing a new dimension to the relationship between Konrad and Donato.

Beautiful in its mood and tone, Futuro Beach fails to tell an interesting story.  Somehow this doesn’t hinder its effectiveness as it’s easy to get lost in the film’s oblique atmospheric world.

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