Futuro: teen talk has a message of hope

Thursday, 14th July — By Dan Carrier

Futuro

FUTURO
Directed by Alice Rohrewacher, Francesco Munzi and Pietro Marcello
Certificate: PG
☆☆☆☆

BEING a teenager gives you super powers, the narration of this unique documentary suggests.

You are not a child, but not an adult. You have a life ahead to map out, choices to make that will shape your future.

You are the bravest and most courageous – and need to be, because life is possibly at its most scary. This is the premise of a journey three directors took across Italy, armed with a camera, a microphone and a simple question.

They wanted to ask Italy’s teenagers what they felt the future holds.

The response is social history gold, a document that should be revisited in 50 years, the original cast tracked down and asked how it has been.

Directors Rohrwacher, Munzi and Marcello gauge dreams, hopes and fears. They simply pull up, find a gaggle of teens, and start chatting. Answers are often predictable, but reveal also an intrinsic human trait – that of hope.

While subjects repeatedly refer to the climate crisis, the threat of mass extinction, economic woes, politics, the negative effects of technology and social media, you could imagine this is a generation of nihilistic doom mongers.

But it is striking that despite the challenges, each one has a sense of determination and of hope.

If the film says anything, it writes in large letters the obvious: every generation of teenagers are brilliant, confused, warm-hearted, scared, worried, excited, nervous, and perceptive.

A key factor is how the directors have not tried to shape the narrative. It’s a very hands-off approach – we see a lot, and that could mean sloppy editing. But instead the naturalistic style of just rolling the camera and letting the subject talk about whatever they want is fundamental in first showing these young people respect, and second genuinely capturing their thoughts.

It means some if it is clear and profound, while other parts are muddled. But this makes it feel honest.

Futuro is helped by a lovely soundtrack and some clever camera work. It is a beautiful film to look at; gentle, inspiring and intuitive. By looking at what these people want for themselves and others in the future reminds us of the hope of a better world. Not a bad thing to take away from an afternoon in the cinema.

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