Reel Reviews | Il Futuro (VFF ’13)


An orphaned brother and sister team with a pair of personal trainers in search of a fortune – and a future in the compelling drama, Il Futuro.

When their parents are killed in an automobile accident, Bianca (Manuela Martelli) and Tomas (Luigi Ciardo) are left to fend for their own. Choosing to keep their family together, Bianca agrees to accept the responsibility to raise her brother and the two are left to fend for themselves, with only their father’s pension to keep them afloat.

Interested in bodybuilding, Tomas meets two other personal trainers, Libio (Nicolas Vaporidis) and Boloñes (Alessandro Giallocosta), who come to stay for one night and soon are living with the young orphans, full-time. While Tomas is skipping school to hang out with his friends at the gym, Bianca has dropped out of school and is working at the local hair salon.

While Bianca is looking for a way to secure her future, an unlikely opportunity presents itself. Her new roommates hatch a plan to infiltrate the house of former film star and Mr. Universe, Maciste (Rutger Hauer), with her getting close enough to him to discover the whereabouts of the hidden safe in his home.

Directed by Chilean director Alicia Scherson, she creates an atmosphere that is slightly off-kilter using several devices including lighting and the film’s score to keep the audience unsettled. When Bianca initially encounters Maciste in his dark mansion, the revelation that he is blind only enhances the tension as the audience is unsure if the disabled former actor will uncover her secret plot.

Scherson also explores the sexual psyche of both of her leads as Tomas watches porn hoping that it will teach him how make love. Bianca’s sexuality is also explored, either in conversations with Tomas and her momentary trysts with both of her boaders. The film also teases and tantalizes the audience with the idea that Tomas and Bianca’s relationship could border on incest due to the close, intimate nature with each other. Scherson doesn’t take that step but there are several scenes that dance right up to the edge.

Not a classic beauty in the Hollywood sense, Martelli radiates sexuality and appears very comfortable with her body throughout the proceedings. She also perfectly balances her sensuality with her maternal responsibilities, doing what she has to do for her brother and her future.

Hauer is also solid as the aging actor who initially is looking for companionship but later discovers he has feelings for the sensuous young lady. While his character is blind, Hauer still possess a raw physicality that perfectly complements his scenes with the tiny Martelli.

While the film’s wrap-up is a little unsatisfying, Il Futuro is an interesting slice-of-life drama that will be rembered for the emergence of a bright young star in Martelli, who is the primary reason to see this film.

Grade: C