Focus Program: The Future Tense

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    As humanity finds itself in a time of great change, is it possible to already see the future in what surrounds us now? Always lying beyond reach, the future occupies a central place in our imaginations, orienting our sense of the world and helping us make meaning from the here and now. Taking this precipice as a starting point, The Future Tense presents a mosaic of cinematic reflections and contemplations of the future, exploring what might lie beyond the vanishing point. Filmmaking is a precious yet powerful tool here to comprehend the abstraction of what is yet to happen, and the potential of the documentary art form, composed of images of past and present, to peer over the horizon of time. Read more about the program.

    Films in the selection


    • Viera Cakanyova
    • 2009

      A defiantly independent woman films her life in Prague with great humor and self-deprecating insight. She has Alzheimer’s disease and sometimes thinks she’s living under Communism, with a secret agent for a neighbor.

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      Don’t Worry

      • Juan Vicente Manrique
      • 2021

        In the highlands of the Mexican state Guerrero, 14-year-old Tavo gives his friends weapons training. It’s a daily reality in a region where villagers are increasingly taking the defense of their community into their own hands.

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        • Abbas Kiarostami
        • 1989

          The way society educates its members says a lot about that society. In interviews with six-year-old schoolchildren filmed in Iran in 1989, during the bloody war with Iraq, a picture emerges of corporal punishment, indoctrination, and constant uncertainty.

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          Homo Sapiens

          • Nikolaus Geyrhalter
          • 2016

            There’s not a soul to be seen in this intriguing sequence of abandoned locations. Through long, static shots the film confronts us with the vulnerable and ephemeral nature of our existence.

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            How to Live in the Federal Republic of Germany

            • Harun Farocki
            • 1990

              An absurdist dissection of West German society: In 32 scenes, we see citizens attending workshops and training courses, methodically preparing for every possible situation in life.

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              I’m So Sorry

              • Zhao Liang
              • 2021

                A prophetic panorama of nuclear power, with unexpectedly poetic moments. Moving encounters with returned residents offer a human counterweight to the silent threat of nuclear disaster areas.

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                Lumumba: Death of a Prophet

                • Raoul Peck
                • 1990

                  A groundbreaking, personal analysis of the way politicians and the Western media manipulated the public image of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, who was murdered in 1961.

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                  Messages to a Post Human Earth

                  • May Abdalla
                  • 2021

                    An interactive, multi-sensory journey through a beautiful garden. You and your travel partner embark on an evocative audio journey featuring augmented reality (AR) to reimagine your relationship with the natural world. You can only buy a combi-ticket. One ticket is valid for two people.

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                    Our Ark

                    • Deniz Tortum, Kathryn Hamilton
                    • 2021

                      Now that it’s technologically possible, we are trying to record virtually our entire world. In this video essay, Deniz Tortum and Kathryn Hamilton ask complex philosophical questions that are easily overlooked as developments hurtle ever onwards.

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                      Perfumed Nightmare

                      • Kidlat Tahimik
                      • 1977

                        A Filipino jeepney driver wants to become an astronaut in America in this groundbreaking feature film, a fusion of comedy and social criticism that was ahead of its time in its dismantling of imperialism, post-colonialism, and consumerist society.

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                        Portraits of the Future

                        • Virna Gabriela Molina
                        • 2021

                          A creative and futuristic visual essay in which the Argentinian director, trapped at home during lockdown, connects social issues with a personal investigation of the past and future of her generation.

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                          State of Dogs

                          • Peter Brosens, Turmunkh Dorjkhand
                          • 1998

                            The soul of the stray dog Baasar is free to roam in this poetic travelogue played out around the smoky cities and untamed steppes of Mongolia. Music, myth, social commentary, and philosophical reflections all blend together in this singular film.

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                            The Still Side

                            • Miko Revereza, Carolina Fusilier
                            • 2021

                              An abandoned vacation resort is slowly being taken over by nature. Where once cruise ships moored and families enjoyed themselves, now there is decay and dereliction. A poetic documentary that looks back on progress.

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                              Tonight’s Homework

                              • Ashkan Nejati, Mehran Nematollahi
                              • 2021

                                Repeating the questions that Abbas Kiarostami put to school children in Homework (1989), this film provides an indirect portrait of contemporary Iran, where poverty, illiteracy, and emotional neglect are more pressing issues than schoolwork.

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                                Two Minutes to Midnight

                                • Yael Bartana
                                • 2021

                                  Might female leaders be able to turn the tide in these times, when the world is in danger of being obliterated by hotheaded men? It’s a question that is gaining ever more complex layers in this tantalizing blend of fiction and political debate.

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                                  Wild Relatives

                                  • Jumana Manna
                                  • 2018

                                    Following the journey of a seed collection between the Arctic and the Middle East, a series of encounters uncovers tensions between state and individual, industrial and organic approaches to seed saving, climate change and biodiversity.

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