We start off with wind, dunes, motocross bikes, fast-paced beats and heavy waves, which lead suddenly to tragic death and quiet mourning. Karim Aïnouz, film director and visual artist, maintains this alternating rhythm throughout his latest feature Futuro Beach: aggressive vitality and passive pondering take turns in its tides.
Having grown up near a very wild and dangerous stretch of Brazil’s coast, Donato (Wagner Moura) has chosen the difficult job of lifeguard on the eponymous beach. The ever-present elements, revealing their full intimidating force in these parts, may explain why Donato’s 10-year-old brother Ayrton refuses to take more than a few steps into the breaking waves. However, the admired Donato only manages to keep up his hard shell as long as he maintains a clean record of rescues. His own fears surface after the first failure: in an effort to rescue two drowning German tourists, he succeeds in saving only one of them, Konrad (Clemens Schick). The initial levity is gone. Seeking to introduce reflective undertones into an environment of previous unconditionality, the film invites us to witness the characters’ development after the moment of innocence lost.
Colours fade, the camera moves slower, shots linger on frozen expressions. In their respective coping with loss and fears, Konrad and Donato lean on each other and become lovers. Futuro Beach’s outstanding cinematography and aesthetic mise-en-scène let the viewer comprehend, without much dialogue, how Donato’s home and the dominating nature become sources of unsettling self-doubt. Since his only solace is being close to Konrad, they are leaving together for the gloriously different, early spring greyness of Berlin, as a possibly soothing, landlocked refuge.
The film’s greatness lies in the decision to silently, but thoroughly, illuminate the effect these two extremely opposing localities have on the main protagonist, in order to highlight an individual’s struggle with his feelings of guilt, self-doubt and forlornness. Donato, for better or worse, gets a taste of German life, but he remains uneasily disconnected, floating between both of his lives. It is only years later and with the help of an unexpected visitor that he’s able to address and overcome his own barriers.
Beautiful imagery in a full-circle narrative of losing and finding one’s self – Futuro Beach tells its modest story in a well-balanced rhythm and psychological insight, yet not once shying away from the physical implementation.
Futuro Beach is released nationwide on 8th May 2015.
Watch the trailer for Futuro Beach here: