"It's the Economy, Stupid!" • 1h 50m
Directed by Mercedes Alvarez • Documentary • 2011 • 110 minutes
A film essay in tableaux, FUTURES MARKET traces the connections between memory, public space, and the real estate bubbles that led to the international financial crisis. Beginning with Greek lyric poet Simonides of Ceos' invention of the 'memory palace' - in which memories are arranged in an imagined physical space - the film suggests that the recent flurry of credit-fueled property development has depleted not only national treasuries, but the distinctive characters of these nation's cities -- and therefore, their cultural memory as well. FUTURES MARKETS takes us inside the fluorescent-lit showrooms of real estate expos, where developers hawk shares in hotel and condo projects in places from Dubai to Miami. Outside, cars crawl forward on endless stretches of anonymous highway whose "straight lines point in the direction of promises." This is Spain, but it could be almost anywhere in the world. "The art of memory was practiced by philosophers, poets, and architects", a narrator tells us. In the film we see the art of forgetting is practiced by the real estate developers, as well as business school gurus - who pledge the keys to success in the same convention centers. Meanwhile, investment bankers bark orders into multiple phones, trading futures in their non-descript offices. All peddle the same dream: a tidy and prosperous future in identical spaces the world over. To make room for these new dreams, history must be evacuated. FUTURES MARKET meditates on great art works from the past by painters like Bosch, Michelangelo, Mantegna, and Raphael. The grand philosophical and spiritual visions represented in their paintings have been replaced by the vulgar ones embodied by the glass tower condos and infinity pools in gleaming architectural models. A modest alternative is offered...
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