I wonder sometimes why I watch some of the films that I do. In particular the more esoteric, out there sort of films that owe a debt to surrealism or try to portray fictional events as real footage. One such case is The Future, aka El Futuro in its native language (not to be confused with Il Futuro starring Rutger Hauer). To say that pretty much nothing happens for an hour would be entirely true.
What this amounts to is just over an hour of youngsters in 1982 having a party and listening to music. The music is often the only subtitled information we get, containing mostly nonsensical lyrics that on first glance bare no relation to the images on screen. You’ll have to dig a bit deeper for the subtext, and there’s plenty to get stuck into from there. If you’re hot on subtext watch then there is almost no point watching The Future.
There’s little appeal for anybody who is either not Spanish or isn’t a cinephile like myself. Unless of course you are a fan of 80s fashion, in which case there are a lot of hideous outfits for you to enjoy.
It also helps if you are aware of the historical context it is set in. Watch out, I’m about to head into pretentious film critic mode. Well, sort of. I’ve literally got nothing else to talk about except for the costumes and the self-constructed, home video style of the film. On that note, it’s very much like one of those home videos families put together, one that’s been edited together haphazardly and doesn’t capture any of the important moments of the night. It seems that all the fun stuff (random nudity aside) is happening somewhere else at the party.
Anyway, back to pretentious film critic mode.
Spain in 1982 was on the verge of breaking away from its old ways. The 1982 elections saw a landslide victory for the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party, heralding an era of political stability and democracy. This is in direct odds with the current political feeling in the country in 2016, where disillusionment and unrest is once again rife.
It’s trying to say something about how political change such as this can be a positive force, that the possibilities for the future are unwritten but, on the whole, not as bad as you might think. The thing is, with all the good will in the world, for me it didn’t do anything to live up to that concept. Watching a group of youngsters having a drink and a laugh is all well and good, but if there’s no real point to it than saying “hey look, the future might not be as bad as you think!” then there are far easier and better ways of saying it.
Bearing in mind how little this represents cinema as a method of storytelling, I can only imagine that the director, Luis Lopez Carrasco, will present his next feature film as a washing machine spin cycle in all its glory, uncut for a full 80 minutes, in extreme closeup and, possibly, 3D.