There is so much that society is on the cusp of doing, and any one technological advancement could have a resounding impact on the way civilization functions. Yet the arrival of something new isn’t always greeted with celebration, nor it is guaranteed to be successful even if promised to be so. There are also those for whom one development is meaningless, yet it still affects the way the world works and how they move within it. The Future engages in an interesting way with those concepts in its portrait of two women facing their own all-too-certain futures.
Yaffa (Samar Qupty) is arrested for the murder of Israel’s Minister of Space and Tourism. Following her confession and the reenactment of the crime, she is brought to the home of Dr. Nurit Bloch (Reymonde Amsellem), a scientist who has developed an algorithm to prevent potential terrorist attacks. Unsettled by Yaffa’s ability to successfully carry out her plan, Nurit begins meeting with her regularly to understand her mindset, while simultaneously working to create the future she wants for herself as a mother with an eager surrogate (Dar Zuzovsky).
The backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a fascinating way to anchor this film’s premise. Early on, Yaffa and Nurit disagree about the terminology that they are using, with Yaffa describing herself as a resistance fighter than a terrorist. Nurit reveals her own fluency in Arabic, and the two switch back and forth between Arabic and Hebrew as they discuss everything that has led them to where they are. Nurit waves off the security detail that escorts Yaffa to her home each time, preferring instead to have Yaffa as comfortable as possible, drinking tea and comprehending that Nurit isn’t looking to punish her but instead to truly get to know her.
This film also ignores much of its future-facing assets, leaving them in the background so that they don’t distract but instead ever so slightly inform. There isn’t much discussion of how Nurit’s technology actually works, but ads are repeatedly shown that tout it as revolutionary and game-changing. It has echoes of the pre-crime of Minority Report, though little else of this film feels anywhere near as sci-fi-oriented. The dead man’s identity is also relevant since Israel is launching its first mission to the moon as this film’s events unfold, and there’s a certain potency to that milestone that evokes the memory of the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, who was killed aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia when it exploded in 2003.
For how much interpersonal conversation it features, there is also plenty left unsaid in The Future. Aside from her appearance at the crime scene at the start of the film, Yaffa is only shown under Nurit’s supervision, and there is no mention of the treatment she receives in prison and what sentence awaits her. Nurit’s life is featured more prominently as she meets with her surrogate and engages with other people in her circle, but she feels most at home when she is around Yaffa, who also proves to be quite observant and notices, for instance, when she changes clothes or wears jewelry after Yaffa makes a comment about her appearance.
At the center of The Future are two compelling performances from Amsellem and Qupty that allow them to foster a vivid and very watchable bond that transcends its context. They are able to relate to and see each other as equals even within the confines of the circumstances that bring them together, and it’s possible to get lost within their conversations before being eventually drawn back to the reality of where they are and where they soon will be. There is much to think about, and this film offers audiences the chance both to take its events and relationships at face value and to ponder their meaning much more deeply.
The Future makes its world premiere in the International Narrative Competition section at the 2023 Tribeca Festival.