Tragedy in the middle of paradise prompts an unexpected liaison in this Brazilian gay love story that comes with significant amounts of art-movie ennui.
Powerless to stop a German tourist drowning, a coastguard (Wagner Moura) finds himself falling hard for the victim’s biker buddy (Clemens Schick). Their heated attraction is soon the cause of life-changing decisions which switch the story from the blue skies of Praia do Futuro to a chillier Berlin.
German-based Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz would seem the right person to understand the couple’s cross-cultural travails. But his film keeps its distance, preferring to overplay its metaphors of existential unease (swimming and biking as an escape from the everyday) than understand the desires and aspirations which make the characters tick. As drama, the result is overlong and, in the end, lifeless.
But ‘Futuro Beach’ is realised with such undeniable visual panache that the sheer beauty of the coastal landscapes or the moody images of urban isolation cast their own spell. But without much emotional connection to the central couple, it’s all a bit academic. Exquisitely lovely, confoundingly dreary.