Futuro Beach bursts into life as two men, Heiko and Konrad, ride their motorbikes over beach sand dunes to the orgasmic repetitive pump of Suicide’s 1977 classic Ghostrider (which has frankly never sounded so good…) After running into the sea they quickly get dragged out of their depth and Heiko (Fred Lima) is seen being pulled underneath as Konrad (Clemens Schick) is saved by a local lifeguard Donata (Wagner Moura).
After Donata has to break the news to Konrad in the hospital, he gives him a lift home that ends up with them having intense sex in Donata’s car leading to a relationship that takes them through clubs, beaches and eventually back to Konrad’s native Berlin. The only problem is that Konrad is leaving behind his partner and Donata is leaving behind his little brother Aryton, which causes some conflict that eventually leads to them having trouble in their new life in Europe…
The director of photography, Ali Olcay Gözcaya, juxtaposes beautifully the spacious and warm Brazil with the colder Berlin nightclubs so that the film has a rich and varied colour palette all shot on 35mm film. As Donata is a swimmer (his brother calls him Aquaman) there are lots of picturesque shots of the sea as well as clean, smooth swimming pools that give the character moments of peace amongst more heated flashy nightclubs and midnight urban bike rides. One particularly beautiful scene in the centre of the film has the characters dancing to sweaty techno but with a post-rock/classical music overlay that highlights the different speed of life in the new city.
There is another beautiful scene that shows Donata and his fellow lifeguards exercising/training on the beach in unison that makes them look like a military squadron, once again filmed in close-up and objectifying the male body as a kind of mirror-image of the iconic females in ‘90s TV show Baywatch.
Director Karim Aïnouz has managed to make a narrative about courage and vulnerability without resorting to sentimentality. The characters are unpretentious and yet compelling and the environments they inhabit are aesthetically and symbolically beautiful. This definitely deserves to be seen on the big screen when it is released in the UK on May 8th.