Tag Archives: berlin

Masculinity, love and superheroes in FUTURO BEACH

Karim Ainouz blog article

Karim Ainouz is a director from Brazil, described by LITTLE WHITE LIES as “poised to become a major force in world cinema”. We sat down with Karim to talk about the themes and tensions in his new film – FUTURO BEACH.


FUTURO BEACH is at once a love story, a family story, a travel story…How did all of these elements evolve and come together in this film?

When we imagine the film, we thought of a story about courage and fear, about character that are brave and cowardly at the same time. We wanted to talk about the times we live in – when trepidation is everywhere. We have immersed ourselves in a conservative moment, a moment where religion, intolerance and a wish for stability are ever present. Adventure, risk-taking, and danger are no longer very welcome, so we pictured a story that could encompass all of that, a story that could be relevant – we imagined a film about passion, voyage and discovery. We envisioned a film in which the characters would love unconditionally, a story of men, but men who make mistakes and who are vulnerable and lack bravery at times.

Having the guts to leave everything behind and reinvent your life was the idea at the core of Praia do Futuro. It’s something that we all desire but are often afraid of. Maybe because we have to leave so much behind in order to actually take the leap. The film is a portrait of characters that have the courage to take this step, to take the plunge to somewhere completely unknown. The sensation of doing this is embedded in the title of the film itself – future, future, moving forward.

I come from a generation where taking risks was mandatory – we wanted to change the world. These days I have the sense that this kind of collective utopian thinking is not so present anymore. Praia do Futuro is in a sense fuelled by that wish to begin anew, to confront things, to engage in unexpected possibilities.

The challenge was to develop the main characters as facets of the same idea, we had to achieve a tone that was truthful to these ideals – ultimately to express it all through the characters and their actions, the perils they undertake, the journeys they embark on, and the mistakes they end up making along the way. Besides all the travel and adventure, there was also the wish to draft a male melodrama. A contemporary, intimate melodrama inhabited only by male characters but without villains.

Konrad is an Afghanistan war veteran, he is a motorbike racer, he loves speed and to explore the world. He has been through so much danger and loss. Donato is a lifeguard, a lifesaver, an almost immaculate hero. Ayrton is a rebel, a badass and an angry kid who has been forgotten by his beloved older brother, Donato. They each represent different facets of masculinity and they are propelled by a strong passion for one another. We see so many action films where the action revolves around fights and death and loss. Here I wanted to use “action” as trigger for life.

Your three main characters – Donato the lifeguard, Konrad the motorcycle racer, and Ayrton the rebellious youth – are all risk takers and dreamers. What inspires them seek out faraway adventure, speed, and excitement? Do you think of them as romantic characters, idealists, daredevils?

I had always wanted to make a film about super heroes, about romantic masculine super heroes that would cross the world and confront anything for love. My last films have portrayed mostly female characters and I was eager to dive into a journey of male characters. But I wanted these characters to be textured, daring, imperfect and contradictory.

The main characters in Praia chase after their dreams, no matter what the cost. So there is definitely something romantic and idealistic about them. I wanted them to pulsate with a physicality with bravery but also to be clearly made of flesh and blood, to make mistakes, to be frail. And it is so beautiful to see them fall apart and pull themselves back together throughout the movie.

I has this picture of a character that had a relevant, heroic profession. That’s when the idea of a lifeguard came to mind. The idea for the first character imposed itself on us very quickly, the beach, the lifeguard, the silence and the secrets of the lifeguard.
Next came the question of danger. There is a Fassbinder movie I like very much called Ali: Dear Eats the Soul (1974), and I always have its title in my mind. I wanted my characters to be fearless. But it is important that this boundless courage does not make them immune to fear. It is the contradiction between the fear they sometimes experience and their true heroism that ultimately makes them empathic and singular. This is the friction that interested me and made me fall in love with them. I think what inspires them to seek adventure, speed and excitement is this wild determination to go on – and the movie could almost be called “Courage Feeds the Soul.”
Each character is dealing with an absence or a longing. Are they each trying to save themselves in different ways? And are they also trying to save each other?

What ultimately drives them is desire, the desire to experiment, to explore, and to live life to its fullest. And when you do that you always end up leaving things behind, embracing certain things and abandoning others.

And in these journeys, the characters endure loss. Konrad’s loss of his best friend renders him weak and helpless. And that’s when he meets Donato, who helps him move ahead and cope with the loss and they fall in love. So Donato leaves his brother and family behind and flees with Konrad to a new life. Then it’s Konrad who saves Donato, who takes him out of his comfort zone and presents him with a whole new universe. And Donato vanishes into this new world. And later, Donato’s young brother, now a teenager, comes back to find him, to confront him, which ultimately saves Donato from the same and cowardice he feels for having vanished without explanation.
I think the matrix of the film is the figure of the man who risks his life to save the life of another.
The film is structured in a prologue, three chapters and an epilogue. Almost like a literary adventure, a travel novel where the three characters are the pillars of every chapter. Every movement is structured on the different route embarked upon by Konrad, Donato and Ayrton.

In the particular case of Donato, I wanted him to do something absolutely unexpected, I wanted him to disappear and to emerge on the other side as someone completely different. I have always been fascinated by people who fade away and start their life again somewhere else. We did a lot of research about the real life characters in order to imagine Donato. And in his case in particular the question of sexuality is an important triggering element for that move.


Poor, but sexy: BERLIN on film

When Klaus Woweriet, Mayor of Berlin in the early noughties, declared Berlin ‘poor, but sexy’, he prompted a new wave of expats to pile into the city looking for some free, or at least very cheap, love. For many, from Christopher Isherwood to Bruce LaBruce, Berlin is about one thing: emancipated sex. (Isherwood himself once summed it up perfectly in three words: ‘Berlin means boys.’)

We’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Germany’s most fascinating city – love because of the culture, boys, girls, the unsurpassed Berlinale film festival, and hate because said festival takes place in February of every year, when it is absolutely, unspeakably cold.

Because Paris and New York usually get an unfair amount of fawning, frothing film coverage, we thought we’d pay homage to this peculiarly idiosyncratic city, and some of the brilliant films that’ve been made there.

1. Metropolis (1927)

Although not set in Berlin, but in a futuristic, urban dystopia, Fritz Lang’s 148-minute magnum opus was made there. Also – Lang was inspired to make the film on first seeing the New York skyline, so maybe this doesn’t belong here. But – seeing as it’s one of the most important (and controversial – you should look up some of Lang’s ‘techniques’ for creating ‘authenticity’ on set…) films of all time, I couldn’t not pop it in.

2. Cabaret (1972)

Now we’re talking. When I first saw this film, it wasn’t the decadent, sexy club scenes that stayed with me: what did was the haunting scene where the handsome young Nazi sings ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me’ and the strange, seductive way this seduces the town folk at the country fair, who all start to join in. The scene is perfectly, almost violently juxtaposed to the rest of the film, and demonstrates, to devastating effect, the counter-forces to Berlin’s hedonism that grow throughout the film. A scary scene, and a brilliant film about a lost era and a city to be reclaimed.

3. Goodbye Lenin (2003)

A clever tragicomedy about a mother-son relationship, but also a powerful political drama about the ridiculousness of Berlin’s division. But don’t be put off by its grand satirising of both socialism and capitalism, the film is, first and foremost, a comedy, and well worth your time. Also – a lot of what I know about Berlin’s history comes from this film, so if you’re keen to learn and have fun (and who isn’t?), definitely check it out.

4. The Lives of Others (2006)

THIS is a heavy-handed drama if ever there was one – worth watching especially for central actor Ulrich Muhe’s central performance. An intense thriller stuck in the nightmarish, Orwellian world of 1984: Muhe plays an agent of the secret police sent to spy on a writer and his lover, but soon finds himself totally absorbed, perhaps obsessed, with their relationship. Moreover, guys, the title is amazing.

5. Otto (2010)

Subtitled ‘Up with dead people’; Bruce LaBruce’s queer cinema classic is a porno parody political nightmare at 24 frames per second; in other words, it’s pure Berlin. What other city could produce a film about a gay zombie looking for flesh, both for sex and for food? Unparalleled, inimitable, watch it if you dare.

6. Berlin 36 (2013)

Hitler’s relationship with the Olympics is fascinating. Next time you’re in Berlin, be sure to visit the Nazi Olympic park for some fascinating insights into how the Nazis approached this Attic world event. In Hitler’s view, once the world had been conquered by fascist ideology, Berlin would become a kind of global athletic capital, where the Olympics were to be held every year.
But don’t let me bore you with my lecture (and it is a lecture!) – this is a powerful emotional drama about Aryan policy and racial discrimination in Weimar Berlin, inspired by true events and a great portrayal of living in Berlin in the late 1930s.

7. Silent Youth (2015)

Our new movie – SILENT YOUTH – pulsates with the sexual intensity you can’t elude on the streets of Berlin. About two boys who meet by chance and discover themselves in each other, the film could be read as an allegory for everyone’s first experience of Berlin. Featuring some beautiful, lingering shots of the city’s abandoned runways and dark, romantic underpasses, the Berlin of Marlo and Kirill’s film is one which resonates with us all.

BONUS MOVIE: Futuro Beach (2015 – coming later this year!)

Apparently this is the first German-Brazilian co-production film ever made! A masterful technical achievement, FUTURO BEACH is hot as hell even though half of it is set in deepest, darkest Berlin winter. Stay tuned for when this film hits cinemas in May – it’s definitely one to catch on the big screen.