Film Review: Futuro Beach (Praia do Futuro) at BFI Flare

An absolute delight for cinema lovers and camera geeks, Futuro Beach (Praia do Futuro) is a moving drama centered on the human emotion of fear.  The film portrays a lifeguard at the Brazilian Futuro Beach named Donato (played by Wagner Moura).  As two German tourists are struggling in the rip tide, Donato springs into action – and unknowingly dives head first into his first experiences with the frailty of human life.  Unable to save both men, Donato pulls Konrad (Clemens Schick) to shore, as Konrad’s friend tragically perishes in the sea.

Futuro Beach

Konrad and Donato form a unique bond through the loss, even amidst Konrad’s mourning over his friend and Donato’s coming to terms with his first confrontation with death.  Falling in love, Donato makes the difficult choice to abandon his younger brother and mother and move to Germany to be with Konrad and start a new life.  At first relieved that he may be leaving his fears behind him on Futuro Beach, Donato soon discovers that every one of those fears – a fear of commitment, fear of change, fear of being alone – has come with him to Germany.  Donato’s fears force an abyss between him and Konrad, and Donato learns that he must face his own fears or risk drowning in them.  Even if he has to do it alone.

Using water as the perfect symbol for human emotion, Futuro Beach (Praia do Futuro) offers an extraordinary glimpse into human emotion.  From the earliest scenes in the film, Donato is overwhelmed with emotion, particularly fear.  The power of the sea literally swallows a man whom Donato attempts to save, illustrating to the young man just how easily we can all be overcome with our own emotions.  Futuro Beach goes on to present a unique, syncopated pace, almost mimicking the serenity and incredible power of the ocean itself.  Emotive, quiet scenes are intermixed with high-speed action scenes, keeping the viewer engaged and curious as Donato’s story unfolds.

Employing outstanding cinematography throughout the film, director Karim Ainouz’s background in visual arts is revealed to the audience.  Artistic shooting and intelligent dialogue between talented actors Moura and Schick leads to a gripping story.  The director also carefully changes the speed of his film numerous times, leaving audiences gripping for their seats…or the occasional tissue.  After a successful premier just one year ago at the Berlin International Film Festival, it is quite clear Futuro Beach (Praia do Futuro) is a crowd favorite.

4 Stars

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Dave Croyle

Dave Croyle

Dave Croyle is an advertising and marketing professional with a knack for building ideas and getting things done. Throughout his career he has written and produced creative work for a variety of brands, big and small. As a history buff and art geek, Dave is passionate about exploring cultures and seeing the world. Dave resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife and two dogs.