When Israel’s Minister of Space and Tourism is murdered in the lead-up to the country’s first mission to the moon, Yaffa (Samar Qupty), a young Arab university student from the occupied West Bank, confesses to the murder. Scientist Nurit (Reymond Amsalem) asks for permission to interview the assassin. As the pioneer of The Future Project, an algorithm-based program meant to predict acts of terrorism (or, if you’re Palestinian, resistance), Nurit is convinced that the unrepentant Yaffa is withholding her whole motivation. The two women face off, determined to give nothing away, over a potentially fraught series of encounters. As the truth is exposed — and the spacecraft carrying a nation’s dreams nears its destination — an increasingly disillusioned Nurit inches towards a profoundly troubling realization.
Writer-director Noam Kaplan’s second feature is a taut, engrossing drama that pares the struggle for liberation down to its essence. Suffused with a potent irony, and powered by two riveting performances, The Future balances sympathy for its main characters with a lucid, unsentimental grasp of the issues at stake. It’s an intelligent and bracingly searching film that lingers after it ends.––Jonathan Ali