Mysterious, rich and dazzling, these are just some of the words that have been used to describe the work of Chilean author Roberto Bolaño, the acclaimed writer whose last book, “Una novelita lumpen” has been adapted into a recently released award-winning film.
Il futuro (The Future) brings to life Bolaño’s tale of sibling adolescents Bianca and Tomas who, orphaned by a car accident, are growing up alone in Rome having abandoned school and embarked upon a dark and dangerous period of mourning in the underworld of the historic city.
A truly international project, Il Futuro was produced with groups from Italy, Germany and Spain, and stars Chilean Manuela Martelli as Bianca and Italian Luigi Ciardo as her onscreen brother. The film also features seasoned star Rutger Hauer who has appeared in Batman Begins, Blade Runner and Sin City among many others.
The third film by Chilean director Alicia Scherson — following Play (2005) and Turistas (2009) — Il Futuro premiered at the prestigious Sundance film festival, as well as receiving several other showings including the Rome Festival of Independent Cinema.
For Scherson, the power of Bolaño’s book sparked an immediate urge to begin work on an adaption.
“I read the novel years ago while preparing to film Turistas. Immediately, I decided that I wanted to make a film based on it. I wasn’t looking for material to adapt, it was simply an impulse that struck me spontaneously from reading the book,” said Scherson.
“Principally, I was seduced by the voice of Bianca, so terribly lucid, distant, wise and at the same time fragile and intimate, and the charged atmosphere of the city on the verge of collapse,” Scherson added.
Alongside the impressive mix of nationalities involved in the the production, filming took place in three countries and, to accommodate the mix of nationalities, Scherson was obliged to direct the cast in English and Italian alongside her native Spanish. Despite these challenges, though, the director said production was surprisingly trouble free.
Based on reactions so far, Il Futuro looks set to join No in the growing number of internationally acclaimed Chilean film productions.
By Sam Edwards