›› Futuro Beach - Praia do Futuro ‹‹

a film by Karim Aïnouz.

2014 | 106 mins | Brazil - Germany.

an intense exploration of lust, love and friendship.

Dave says:

From director and co-writer Karim Aïnouz of Madame Satã fame comes this intense exploration of lust, love and friendship.

It's a journey that spans three differing time frames, three different men and three chapters, in the process telling the story of how Brazilian lifeguard Donato (Wagner Moura) saves the life of German biker Konrad (Clemens Schick), only to fail in his repeated attempts to save the life of Konrad's best friend from the treacherous currents of Praia do Futuro. That however doesn't stop the two men from forming a close bond thereafter, with Donato only too happy, albeit at first, to exchange the sun and the sea for a new life with Konrad in his home city of Berlin. Yet what was a refreshing change at first, soon finds Donato stumbling around like a duck out of water, devoid of his love of swimming and the ocean. Only that's not all that Donato has left behind, having walked out on his mother and younger brother Ayrton (Sávio Ygor Ramos) without an explanation. No surprise then that years later, the boy turned man Ayrton (Jesuíta Barbosa) comes calling, asking questions that Donato would rather not be raised. Only will he get any answers to them from a man who prefers to shy away from dealing with reality?

In many ways this is a mixed review, given this could have been an outstanding film, only to suffer in so many areas, most notably the lack of any screen chemistry between its leading men. Rumour has it that Moura and Schick did not get along that well when they first met and if the case, then it shows, even if the film is laced with many a scene of rampant man-sex between the two. Only that's just one of its many flaws, for and as good as their performances are, trouble also lies with the narrative itself, given Moura's character is hardly one you can empathize with, being selfish from day one, having left his family behind in the pursuit of love, without even saying a goodbye. Then again, this is a film in which you're never quite sure where it's heading, having all but fizzled out after its dynamic Brazilian opening chapter, leaving the arrival of the older Ayrton to save the day by relighting the narrative fire. And here Barbosa excels as the rebel figure of the piece, rightly furious with Donato for having left him to care for their ailing mother, without as much as a postcard from Berlin.

Having said that, there's equally much to like here, including Ali Olcay Gözkaya's stunning cinematography, taking in the breathtaking scenery of its Brazilian and European locations, together with a series of shots of the spectacular AquaDom (the one with a lift inside) Aquarium in Berlin. Yet this is also a film that saw Moura, one of Brazil's leading men, switching cinematic sides to play gay in such an overtly manner, that some members of its Latin American audience found his performance too hot to handle!

Yet whilst the love of swimming, dance and speed-racing form the joie de vie highs of this feature, this is also a work that takes pride in laconic lows, here often expressing emotions without a single word being spoken, with the relationship between the two men more of the on / off variety, than the outright I love you kind; indeed, the word LOVE is never mentioned. But in doing so, it leaves a series of gaps in the narrative; that of a mother spoken of but unseen, a son yearning to return to his family and the sea and yet seemingly unable to do so, and a relationship that takes the arrival of a third party to make the two lovers realize just what matters most to them. And whilst that should make for a touching finale, somehow this feature doesn't deliver the closing dramatic punch that it deserved. Say no more.

›› available as part of the PECCADILLO PICTURES catalogue: 24th August, 2015 / UK.
›› posted: Saturday, 21st May, 2022.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - the full monty | Overall - file under ... 3+ stars

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