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still from History's Future (Fiona Tan, NL/ES/FR/GR/IE 2015)

History's Future

Fiona Tan / NL, ES, FR, GR, IE, 2015 / 95 min.

While Europe rushes towards an uncertain future amid loud protests, a man loses his memory after a robbery. Confused and with nothing to hang on to, he breaks out of his helpless state by taking a drastic decision.

poster History's Future (Fiona Tan, NL/ES/FR/GR/IE 2015)

The man leaves home and sets off on a curious odyssey. Guided by confrontational, tragicomic and hopeful meetings, he struggles to get to grips with himself and the future.This first feature by Fiona Tan, who wrote the script with film critic Jonathan Romney, unfolds like an epic film poem, with a strong European cast. The fiction, captured in powerful set pieces, is interspersed with raw news footage of riots in European cities and short interviews about hope and desire.

This not only reveals Tan’s background in the visual arts, but also her experience as a director of documentaries. The meanderings of a man with no memory form the common thread in an associative, complex whole in which reality and imagination, symbolism and dreamt possibilities come seamlessly together. A form of disorientation that invites us to philosophize on opportunities and choices, on identity, history and our place in the world. ‘The future is a tale told by an idiot,’ as our wandering hero unexpectedly recalls at one point.

Rags or sharp suit

Will he end up in rags, or wearing a sharp suit? Can he start afresh? Leaving an airport, he steps into a waiting taxi that takes him to a deserted lot. ‘What now?’ he asks. The driver says nothing.

The film’s cast includes Mark O’Halloran, Denis Lavant, Anne Consigny, Christos Passalis, Rifka Lodeizen, Johanna ter Steege and Brian Gleeson. History’s Future was filmed on location in Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin, Barcelona, Athens, Leipzig, Berlin and London. Nominated for the Tiger Award, International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Prior to this screening, at 19:15 hrs, there will be a public conversation between Fiona Tan and other artists who produce their own films. Tickets for this programme are available separately.

This is part of


This movie contains scenes of violenceThis movie contains scenes with alcohol and/or drug usePersons under 12 years must be accompanied by an adultThis movie contains foul language


Fiona Tan

Production year




Original title

History's Future


95 min.







Part of

Fiona Tan

Fiona Tan is known for her video and film installations in which she explores memory, history, globalisation and the role of images.

Learn more
Fiona Tan, Gray Glass (2020), still, 3 channel 4K video installation, black & white, 3 x mono, courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London
still from History's Future (Fiona Tan, NL/ES/FR/GR/IE 2015)
still from History's Future (Fiona Tan, NL/ES/FR/GR/IE 2015)
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