Il Futuro (The Future) Alicia Scherson
Published Jan 20, 2013At the center of Il Futuro, Alicia Scherson's wildly impressionistic and transformative coming-of-age (sort of) is the universal significance of artifice and presentation. And considering that the premise is that of siblings, Bianca (Manuela Martelli) and Tomas (Luigi Ciardo), dealing with the quotidian aftermath of losing both of their parents in a car accident, the question of oedipal relations and gender performance as underlying subtext is the most logical connection.
Following the accident, Bianca develops an aura-related psychological condition where brightness limits her ability to handle light or sleep properly. Conversely, suggesting desire for light, Tomas becomes obsessed with building muscles, taking up with two steroid-popping criminals that he invites into his home in exchange for validation and the promise of a developed-physique (and a resultant mode of protection from a world that seems much more daunting without the reassurance of parents).
Amidst bizarre cinematography and a series of abstract voiceovers from Bianca, suggesting a preoccupation with the nature of observation and gazing as mode of consumption, noting that, as a woman, she is the cultural object of said gaze, a sexual relationship develops between her and her brothers' new friends.
Continuing with the trajectory of watching and image, constantly referencing classic cinema styles and tropes to remind the viewer that passive-spectatorship is mode of objectification, Bianca agrees to be a prostitute for reclusive blind millionaire, and old-school Hercules star, Maciste (Rutger Hauer), Their sexual relationship and her increased lack of identity from being desired outside of the spectrum of visual sight is ultimately what gives her character a breaking point sense of empowerment.
Within the context of scopophilia and social gender performance—where women seek protectors and providers (here accentuated by a Beauty and the Beast millionaire father figure) and men perform the role of alpha-male—Alicia Scherson's unsettling art film addresses an abundance of intriguing discourse. But the deliberately obtuse presentation of the material, where everything, while thoughtful and deliberate, has secondary meanings and social context, limits—and in some cases alienates—the audience.
The sweeping classic cinema opening and deliberately contrary soundtrack do add dimensions and elements to think about within the spectrum of world cinema, but they also speak only to those familiar with the text of film history and theory, which is an interesting obstruction considering that this movie is essentially about women finding empowerment in a world content to treat them like a mere object. Since the history of cinema is primarily a male history, this framing device is probably more ironic and intriguing than it is effective, since those that get it will primarily also be those unconsciously doing the gazing. (Pandora Film)