A Loco Films world sales pick-up and Disney niche release in its native Argentina, Constanza Novick’s debut feature “El futuro que viene” (The Future Ahead”), which now screens at Ventana Sur, takes a relatively simple but infrequently seen idea – the tale of female friendship down two decades from first love to post-first divorce – and weaves a story which marks the emergence of a new female auteur in Argentina.
Some potential Novick hallmarks: “The Future Ahead” keys in on a female sensibility. Romina and Flor, first seen at high-school, then in their early 20s, then 30-somethings, both with daughters – “have a level of trust and complicity whose intimacy men don’t reach in their friendships,” Novick has said.
More mainstream than partner Lisandro Alonso’s bracingly challenging fare (think “Jauja”), “The Future Ahead” is nevertheless distinguished by an informing irony which leads it to question conventional wisdom.
The seeds of what the two friends become, for example, is defined as much by childhood circumstance as character but works as counter-reaction as much as influence. Romina’s mother carries on with men, so Romina becomes a stick-in-the-mud, while Flor, from a much more staid background, takes up with a glamorous playwright; Romina wins school prizes for her essays, so Flor becomes a writer. This dual dependency is of course a very Argentine idea, sketched out by Jorge Luis Borges, suggesting Novick is at once one of Argentine’s most cosmopolitan talents – she first came to notice adapting and producing Dolores Fonzi’s “Soy tu fan” for Mexico’s Canana Films and Once TV Mexico – and, natural for a scribe-turned-director, also an auteur grounded in Argentina’s grand, longstanding and often literary culture.