Produced by Lisandro Alonso, the debut feature traces a story of female friendship over two decades
Disney, one of Argentina’s most decisive movie players, has acquired rights to Argentina and the rest of Latin America to Constanza Novick’s “El futuro que viene” (The Future Ahead), produced by preeminent Argentine director Lisandro Alonso (“Jauja,” “Liverpool”).
Novick’s feature debut, “The Future Ahead” has just had its world premiere at the Toronto Festival, screening in its Discovery section. The Disney deal adds to an international sales agent’s pick-up of world sales rights to “The Future Ahead” by Paris-based Loco Films, announced over the weekend.
The distributor in Argentina of not only its own movies but much of the cream of Argentine titles, many sourced from local production house Patagonik, a Disney joint venture with Argentina’s Artear, Disney will release “The Future Ahead” in Argentina on Oct. 12.
Written by Novick, “The Future Ahead” stars Dolores Fonzi, now firmly established as one of Argentina’s most-reputed actresses after toplining Santiago Mitre’s “Paulina,” a 2015 Cannes Critics’ Week winner, and Pilar Gamboa (“The Fire”).
The Disney deal, though recent, was struck by the film’s producers before Toronto begun. It is made on a title which, charting the resilient friendship of Flor and Romina from first love to first divorce, has an obvious appeal to women – tales of female friendship are still relatively rare – marks the emergence of a new female auteur in Argentina, and though more mainstream than Alonso’s impactful radical fare, still packs ideas which challenge received wisdom.
One is that coming-of-age is defined as much by circumstance as character which is largely established from childhood.
For Novick, “In an organic and natural way which is realistic with regards to the story, the seeds of what Romina and Flor become as women and mothers are present in the first part, though not as an act of predestination suggesting the impossibility of change.”
She went on: “But there’s something about their upbringing and the bonds they have with their families which influences what they become.”
“The Future Ahead” also explores the singularity of female friendship: “Flor and Romina have a level of trust and complicity whose intimacy men don’t reach in their friendships, I think,” Novick added.
Novice’s first feature has at times the structure of a comedy, though it’s told as a drama. As teens, Flor and Romina are first seen performing a dance routine to “Godspeed, John Glenn” remix. Both have a crush on the same boy at school, Mariano, memorize the dialogues of a Nadia Comaneci telenovela while Romina, the more beautiful and richer, who keeps a diary. Romina’s mum is incredibly hip, carries on with men, Flor’s is separating from her dad.
But it is Flor who ends up snogging Mariano, grows up to become a writer and become the flightier wine-swilling friend, marrying into money; Romina has a daughter with a hulk, but is much squarer, has trouble connecting with emotions, or risking a relationship. Flor does what Romina doesn’t dare.
“The basis of their ambivalent friendship is that each one believes that the other has a happier life. Flor thinks she wants a baby when Romina has one. Romina would like to write, like Flor, but maybe lacks the social skills necessary to earn money from what she writes,” Novick said.
“The Future Ahead” is written in three blocks, without flashbacks: Romina and Flor confronting pubescence at school; at just over 20, when Romina is already a put-upon mother, when the friends fall out; at 30-something when, as the film turns part circle, they both have children as old as they were when the film began.
Novick and Fonzi’s own relationship goes back years. Fonzi created Argentine TV series “Soy tu fan,” which scribe-turned-director Novick adapted and produced for Mexico’s Canana Films and Once TV Mexico in her highest-profile TV work. Fonzi and Novick also created a production house together.