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The Future Perfect

The Future Perfect, a mere hour long, is a coming-of-age tale more concerned with posing philosophical questions than with hitting plot points. The film is neatly structured around Spanish language exercises among Chinese students in an Argentinian classroom. We hear their initially stumbling conversations, then see similar scenarios play out in the life of one of the students, 18-year-old Xiaobin, who’s just come from China to join her controlling family. Her first interactions, mirrored by her early attempts with the language, are painful. But with each new Spanish lesson she masters, her boundaries fall away. She invents new identities, calling herself Beatriz or Sabrina. She begins a stilted romance with an Indian programmer. But she doesn’t really blossom until she grasps the conditional. Director Nele Wohlatz lets her story grow from the life of her lead actor, Xiaobin Zhang, and a group of actual students. As in the films of the mid-century French director Robert Bresson, the nonprofessional players’ awkward screen-innocence offers an escape from artifice even as Wohlatz teases us for taking what we see literally. The charm of this experimental film lies in its intellectual complexity, its gentleness, and the obvious intelligence and strength of Xiaobin—the character and the real woman. by Joule Zelman
Showtimes & Tickets


Nele Wohlatz
Xiaobin Zhang, Saroj Kumar Malik, Mian Jiang