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Doc “Dear Future Children” gets close to young protesters – and far away from new reality

Doc “Dear Future Children” gets close to young protesters – and far away from new reality

Like so many films, Franz Böhm’s hopeful documentary triptych about diverse young women striving for justice, freedom and democracy – values the film’s poster emphasizes in capital letters – has been severely hampered by the events in the wake of Covid-19. None of which appear in the avid portrayal of three teenage girls from different continents committed to an often physical fight for human rights and a better world. Interwoven storylines merge into a larger picture of diverse international protest culture and positive action. Never mind this is the exact opposite of the conspicuous apathy defining the changed reality of lockdowns.

The latter doesn’t restrain the confidently idealistic production as much in practical terms as it compromises its credibility. Pepper from Hong Kong and Rayen from Chile risking their health and freedom in the violent protests for democracy and class equality and of Hilda from Uganda leading a diplomatic course against climate change overcome the schematic structure with their inspiring personal commitment. However, their allotted representative function seems misconceived at best. Not only omits the iconographic presentation of the protagonists most of their personal background and struggle but also doesn’t explore the prevalence of such admirable social involvement among their peers.

Told in scenes exiting enough to keep a politically apathetic audience interested while harmless enough to not disturb even sensitive kids, the self promoting doc ends up viewing demonstrations as an exiting game. Only marginally are personal dangers and psychological toll of constant fight addressed. With the possibility of defeat briefly admitted in the segment of Pepper facing the Hong Kong protest’s failure, another question looms: Where are they now? Lockdowns and infection protection measures have proven a perfect tool to quench demonstration rights with the added bonus of pointing the moral finger at demonstrators instead of being pointed at.

Not even a postscript makes any reference to current circumstances, their consequences for the pictured revolts or even more importantly, the revolters. For a documentary in awe of its courageous subjects, the production is curiously cautious to not indicate any critic of the current infringement of supposedly inalienable rights drastically aggravating existing inequality. This evasiveness includes the uneasy question why this rebelliously depicted youth isn’t protesting now for the right reasons, instead yielding the floor to the wrong people protesting for the wrong reasons. Thus, the naive concept of a more ethical new generation is confuted by the new normal.

  • OT: Dear Future Children 
  • Regie: Franz Böhm
  • Drehbuch: Franz Böhm
  • Produktionsland: Germany, UK, Austria
  • Jahr: 2021 
  • Laufzeit: 89 min. 
  • Cast: Nakabuye Hilda Flavia, Pepper, Rayen
  • Kinostart: –