The premise of “Futura” couldn’t be simpler. At the end of 2019, three filmmakers – Pietro Marcello (“Martin Eden”), Francesco Munzi (“Black Souls”) and Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy like Lazzaro”) – posed to interview groups of high school and college-age Italians in various parts of the country.
Their questions, which can sometimes be heard from behind the camera, mainly concern the dreams, worries and ambitions that are part of youth everywhere and all the time. Some of the answers you hear in the finished film are specific and personal: farming or cosmetology; travel or children. Others are abstract and collective, concerned with the fate of the nation and the nature of happiness. There are complex emotions and tumultuous political implications.
Before your eyes, however, the project’s forward-looking intentions, outlined in the title, are complicated by current developments. Not long after filming began – and not far from “Futura” – in the spring of 2020, Covid-19 reached Italy, resulting in a nationwide shutdown and tens of thousands of deaths. Finally, the filmmakers were able to resume their work, and for most of the film, subjects wore masks, gathered outdoors, and pondered the disaster that had interrupted and impending disaster. rearrange their lives.
“Futura,” then, is a documentary about the pandemic, a movie that will be reviewed in the future for clues about what is happening now. But it’s not exactly a documentary About Covid. Like Michael Apted’s “Up” Cyclerevisited the same number of British schoolchildren every seven years from 1964 to 2019, “Futura” matched social traits and opened up the universe.
It is about contemporary Italy, so to speak, about the class, regional, gender, nationality and ideological divisions that are taking place on the peninsula. A sociologically inclined viewer will glean a wealth of information regarding agriculture, vocational education, gender roles, the role of the state, and the state of the South. A fan of Italian cinema will likely remember the precious stories of family strife and teenage friendships, of farm labor and factory work – by Pasolini, Olmi, Fellini and De Sica . Anyone with a heart will be stirred by the humanistic, generous, critical spirit shared by the kids in front of the camera and the adults on the other side.
There is no plot, and the characters are not identified by name until the final credits. The pandemic may have prevented some return visits. Early on, I was captivated by a group of hotheaded boxers at a gym in Sardinia – perhaps the only young men in Italy who didn’t like football – and I waited in vain to meet him. back them. On the other hand, signing up for a cosmetology class in Calabria and a bunch of Northern beachgoers is like meeting old friends again.
Not very intimate conversations. Young people will sometimes reveal details about their family or personal life, but most of the questions and answers are given within the general comfort zone. Neither politics nor sex are explicitly discussed, although both topics are floating in the air. At a school in Genoa, the scene of violence during the 2001 anti-globalization protests, current students who either don’t know much about the incident or don’t want to talk about it, offer praise about the incident. the need for change and the importance. of moderation.
It would be a mistake to impose too much coherence on such an open-ended, kaleidoscopic collective portrait. Some young men who seem to come from privileged backgrounds – like the trio riding horses near Turin – expressed satisfaction with the status quo. Others, in a university setting, speak in the language of theory. You hear a strong desire for change, and skepticism about how to get there. Perhaps the most fervent political statement was a young man’s vague but passionate plea for tax reform.
A sense of futility pervades many conversations. The idea that the country cannot provide a future for its rising generation is heartbreaking. At the same time, there is something in the solidarity between these young men and women, and in the affection many of them show for their parents, that testifies to the tenacity of these young men and women. foundational institutions and traditions of Italy.
And “Futura” is above all an affirmation of the permanence of a filmmaking approach based on curiosity, democratic principles, and the idea that people can speak for themselves. None of us know what the future holds, but a movie like this is a reminder of why we should care.
Not rated. In Italian, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes. In the theater.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/movies/futura-review.html Review ‘Futura’: Youth, Italian Style