It’s hard to nail that breezy, Ghost World–like sense of teen dislocation as sensitively as Alicia Scherson does in her Rome-set third feature, which often feels like a sweaty daydream. The plot (based on a Roberto Bolaño novel) ambles unpredictably: A pair of Chilean-born siblings, Bianca (Manuela Martelli, a find) and younger Tomás (Luigi Ciardo), suddenly find themselves orphaned zombies in the hot, decaying city. In what feels like a matter of hours, their apartment becomes a pigsty, their TV is turned into a 24-hour porn provider, and some amiable lunkheads from the local gym have moved in. More weirdness is on the horizon, and it’s wonderful to think that a movie is, for a change, ahead of you.
The bizarre turn comes in the form of Rutger Hauer (how could it not?), an American ex-star of ’60s sword-and-sandal flicks who lives alone in a wasted mansion. The boys have the idea of robbing him, but Bianca—drafted as sex bait—comes to a deeper appreciation of the lost soul, and the film does, too. Il Futuro, aptly bereft of actual Italians, teases out the idea of thrown-off foreigners, bridged by fluid identities. The relationship isn’t quite Last Tango in Paris, but it has a drift all its own.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf
Cast and crew