If you can bestow me this pain, imagine what pleasures you can cause me.
Part documentary, part art film, part cinematic love letter; Maja Borg's Future My Love, opening on Friday 15 November, is an intimate and singular work that draws provocative parallels between our hearts and the world we move through.
Shot variously in digital HD, black-and-white Super 8 and incorporating archive footage, Borg expands on her 2007 short Ottica Zero, starring Italian actress Nadya Cazan – who appears here too as Borg’s former lover – and we find the filmmaker on the road to the Venus Project, where 95-year-old futurist, designer and engineer Jacque Fresco lives in a self-designed compound of bug-eyed, organically shaped, Space Odyssey-esque pods, amid the tropical greenery of the Florida swamps.
Fresco grew up in New York in the 1930s. Witnessing the Great Depression as a child, he was inspired to spend his life imagining, designing and trying to realise a better society; a ‘resource-based’ economy that would implement the technology as its disposal to its maximum humanistic potential. We can create machines to feed, clothe and house everyone, he argues. We can educate everyone. There is no need for work, no need for money. He points to new forms of technology, to intelligent machines and 3D printing. His solutions, his designs are all based upon the human body, he says – the intricacy and autonomy of which are endlessly inspiring to him.
These are beautiful ideas, with evidence to back them up, but Borg questions our ability to act on them: to force a change and really commit to shedding the ingrained habits of consumerism, our modes of work and play. Images of war, poverty, the Great Depression and the recent financial collapse cast capitalism as a toxic romance, as the bad habit we just can’t quit - and the world’s problems as difficult truths we struggle to face.
Much like emotional ones: the camera lingers on Cazan’s face as Borg speaks in raw voiceover about her longing for what they have lost, with a moving lack of pride. By projecting emotions so intimately felt that they are almost abstract, yet still universal, on to the future of society itself, Borg is asking interesting questions. What have we lost, in turning away from each other? Why are we so wholly absorbed in our own crises, and think the crises of the planet must be someone else’s business? Why do we feel so incapable of fixing social injustice, so unable to alleviate corruption and greed? Why must loving each other be such a problematic business, rather than a natural, socialised matter of course?
Future My Love is a tender and exploratory call for change, for a new radicalisation both personal and global, for a departure from the emptiness of capitalism. It makes for exciting, experimental cinema.
Future My Love opens on Friday 15 November