In movies, the future starts with the corporate logo. Before that come the trailers, the commercials, the popcorn and peeing. What comes before even that is the carpet of rumours, trends and hype that walk you into the theatre. Here's a look in. In the future, there will be more movies, more movies than you can see. It's now normal for seven or eight new films to open in Toronto, week after week. Hollywood everywhere, Bollywood in the suburbs, opaque art films and outraged documentaries downtown.
Avid moviegoers see one of these films a week. The average person sees four in a year. Add in the 40-odd film festivals in town and the dozens of watchable-to-great films that never get any theatrical release at all and you realize your viewing is defined much more by what you don't see than by what you do.
In the future, truth won't matter. Nor will fiction. In 2003 many people watched The Passion Of The Christ as a documentary and Fahrenheit 9/11 as fiction. You could argue, but you couldn't persuade.
The march of individualism and relativism means we'll make up our own minds about what we believe, and filmmakers will learn even smarter ways to play to that.
In the future, sex won't need to be faked. French filmmaker Catherine Breillat has taken to casting porn stars willing to have real sex in her art films. Chloë Sevigny gave Vincent Gallo a real blow job in The Brown Bunny. Then there's the Paris Hilton industry. It won't be long before an American star revives a career by having full, unsimulated intercourse in a Sundance film, which is weird because Sundance is in Utah.
In the future, Jennifer Garner will win an Oscar.
In the future, Lindsay Lohan will win an Oscar.
In the future, a best-actress Oscar winner will take the stage and thank Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi and all the other women who paved the way. Then she'll blow a big kiss to the folks back home in Guangzhou and swan off in tears.
In the future, specifically February, the backlash against Alexander Payne's Sideways will surge to full force, opening the door for Clint Eastwood to win more Oscars.
In the future, the movie version of the Halo video game will open to disappointing box office. The Grand Theft Auto movie will be a huge hit.
In the future, a computer-animated film will achieve 100 per cent verisimilitude, faithfully replicating a mediocre live-action film.
In the future, Tom Hanks will exist entirely on hard drives.
In the future, there will be a bomb at the Cannes film festival.
A real bomb, not a Danny DeVito movie. While France's foreign policy continues to inoculate itself against terrorist threats, the springtime spectacle of excess will prove too tempting a target. The victims may be American, French or sundry, but the effect will be a widespread politics of panic in the films that come after. Humble realism will offer no defence, but it will be attempted.
In the future of world cinema, Russia will be the new South Korea. South Korea will be the new France. France will still be France, though it'll hardly matter.
In the future, Woody Allen will make better films, but Hal Hartley won't.
In the future, the tribe of American wounded geniuses will increase.
More men will join David O. Russell, Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson, making obscure, wilful movies that awkwardly straddle the divide between box office and personal obsession. Women's personal obsessions will continue to be found in books, or in movies by Catherine Breillat.
In the future, though not in our lifetime, Canada will distinguish between supporting a film industry and supporting a film culture.
As a result, very good Tamil films will start to emerge.