Xiaobin is a young woman of 17 who moves from China to Buenos Aires to join her parents.
Signing up for Spanish lessons allows her to make friends, expand her horizons and contemplate many possible futures.
Each student in the class is given a Spanish name (she gets Beatriz). They can play at new identities – a nurse from Barcelona, a business woman from Colombia, a lawyer from Montevideo.
They read questionable statements from their text book, “If I marry a rich man, I won’t have to work.” (Tsk, tsk!)
They practice mildly stilted dialogue exercises, inviting each other to meals or to the movies. Outside the classroom, Xiaobin uses those phrases when talking to Vijay, an immigrant programmer from India, and they really do go places together. They still act like they’re practicing, though. They order orange juice, and then decide to leave a few minutes later without even tasting it. “Should we go? “Let’s go.” The audience in the cinema laughs.
After the film, a friend said that the person who played Vijay was not a good actor. I’m not sure about that. I think he might have played his part exactly the way director Nele Wohlatz wanted him to.
The dialogues in their text books will sound familiar to anyone who’s ever taken a language class, but some of the overwrought things Vijay says sound like they’re from a melodramatic telenovela.
Kitty content: After a few dialogues about cats, kittens start to appear in the homes of some of the students.
El Futuro Perfecto is not a typical documentary at all. It’s some sort of hybrid thing – drama/documentary/improv, based on the real-life experience of star Zhang Xiaobin. Many parts are quite funny, too. I would have been happy to spend more time in the world of El Futuro Perfecto, but it’s only 65 minutes long. Maybe writer/director Wohlatz and her cast said every thing that they wanted to say within that time frame. If so, kudos to them for not dragging things out.
Learn more about El Futuro Perfecto or buy tickets on the web site of RIDM, Montreal’s documentary film festival.
El Futuro Perfecto, 65 minutes long, in Spanish and Mandarin with English subtitles.
Director: Nele Wohlatz
Cast: Zhang Xiaobin , Saroj Kumar Malik , Jiang Mian , Wang Dong Xi , Nahuel Pérez Biscayart
Producer: Cecilia Salim
Cinematography: Roman Kasseroller, Agustina San Martín
Sound: Nahuel Palenque
Editing: Ana Godoy
Production: Murillo Cine
El Futuro Perfecto
Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2:30 p.m., Cinémathèque Québécoise, Salle Principale, 335 de Maisonneuve Blvd E.