Monday, June 1, 2015

Damaged Goods

Il futuro/The Future (2013) - Scherson
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Based on Bolaño's novel A Little Lumpen Novelita which I haven't read, Il Futuro tells about two adolescent Chilean siblings living in Rome, recently orphaned by car accident- Bianca (Manuella Matelli), slightly older than her brother Tomas, who is still in high school. In order to get their dead father's pension and preventing Tomas to go to an orphanage, Bianca accepts the responsibility of being the head of the household, suggested by a social worker. Soon they are living in filth- cigarette butts everywhere, unwashed dishes pile up, leftovers strew the floor. Bianca starts working at a hair salon as an apprentice and Tomas at a local gym. Easily impressionable, Tomas brings two young trainers (who shows him how to break the cable code so he can watch porn) from the gym in to the house and they start living in their with them, doing dishes and taking charge of cooking. Bianca in turn starts having sex with them regularly.

One day the trainers have a plan: there is an old English or Australian recluse (Rutger Hauer) living in a mansion. He is a retired movie star/former Mr. Universe, who used to be known as Maciste (old Hercules style sword-sandal action movie hero). He must have a safe of some sort in his house. Maybe Bianca can sacrifice herself a little, earn his trust and rob him. It will be a big break for all.

Bianca finds out that Maciste is blind the first night when he put massage oil all over her naked body. For some reason, those lunkheads didn't mention his disability. Night after night, one intimate encounter after another, having great conversations, Bianca falls for this old man. Does he feel the same way about her, or is she just another whore at his disposal?

The way it is shot and its hazy atmosphere, Il futuro has an enigmatic quality that pulls you in. Matelli, with her cat eyes, small body and asymmetrical hairstyle is stunning as a girl who is thrown into an adulthood. With strong acting from both Matelli and Hauer, Alice Scherson makes the film about two damaged individuals getting together very poignant and seductive without ever becoming sentimental. Great premise, I'd love to read the book now.