Futuro Beach (4 stars)

Futuro Beach

Absorbing and sensitive romantic drama from Brazil, directed by Karim Aïnouz

There’s more than one way to tell a story. Conventionally speaking, the preferred method is to present matters as cohesively as possible, allowing the narrative to flow for the audience. But Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz’s Futuro Beach does no such thing: days, months, even years pass by in the brief darkness between scenes, without so much as a mention of the events that take place during this time, resulting in a fractured but tenderly told tale that is as ambiguous as it is absorbing.

The film centres on Konrad (Clemens Schick), a German tourist grieving over the death of his friend, and Donato (Wagner Moura), a coastguard on the beach where Konrad’s friend lost his life. The pair form a romantic attachment, going to Berlin to start life anew.

Would it be accurate to call Futuro Beach queer cinema? In the sense that it features a love story between two gay men then, yes, one could absolutely say it is. But what feels off about that label is that the film's depiction of their relations feels more like an exploration of a connection. It doesn't make a specific statement about their sexual orientation, instead choosing to examine why these two are brought together, men who have their own reasons for finding solace in each other's love.

You could also question whether this is simply a Brazilian film too. Stuck one half in Aïnouz's hometown Fortaleza and the other in Berlin (reflecting its director's course in life – growing up in Brazil and living in Germany) it shows how our lives are shaped by our location, and how we choose to bear the weight of being separated by an ocean from the ones we leave behind. Futuro Beach resists easy definition; life is full of blurred lines and Aïnouz knows it.

Selected release from Fri 8 May.

Futuro Beach

  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • Brazil / Germany
  • 1h 46min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Karim Aïnouz
  • Written by: Felipe Bragança, Karim Aïnouz
  • Cast: Wagner Moura, Clemens Schick, Jesuíta Barbosa

Konrad (Schick) is a German tourist in Brazil, grieving for a dead friend; Donato (Moura) is a coastguard on the beach where the friend died. The two form an attachment. Ambiguous but absorbing and tender tale of a relationship that takes place over years, between Brazil and Germany.