"The future is in small, exclusive places," Bianca tells her brother. "The future," he replies, "is only in artificial intelligence, computers, neural networks." To the characters in Il Futuro, based on a Roberto Bolaño novella, the future is always unreachable, abstract to the point of meaninglessness. After a car accident kills both their parents, teenage Bianca and Tomas fall into the listless well of the eternal now—familiar to all lost children—and the film drifts patiently with them, moving from numb grief to crime caper to transient love. With the children alone, the house becomes a sty, the TV is rejiggered as a porn box, and they fall into cahoots with a pair of creepy gym rats who want to steal from a blind former Mr. Universe and ex-movie star (Rutger Hauer), using Bianca as both prostitute and spy. The film's expressionistic cinematography and fetishistic wandering eye imbue everything with the chaotic significance of the teen years: Each moment and window and piano key seems to mean nothing and everything at the same time. But though little is ever redeemed or even completed onscreen, by its end the film makes life in the rubble still feel possible, maybe even beautiful.

Critic's Grade: A-

SEE IT: Il Futuro opens Friday at the Clinton Street Theater.