“If we stay locked in here for many years, would you like to have kids?” No, it is not a COVID-themed question. This is the question that Yago (Eduardo Mendonça) asks his co-star Giovana (Renata de Lélis), in the almost prophetic Brazilian science ‘fiction’ film ‘A nuvem rosa’ (‘The Pink Cloud’), by filmmaker Iuli Gerbase.
Giovana and Yago are strangers who share a spark after meeting at a party. When a deadly cloud mysteriously takes over their city, they are forced to seek shelter with only each other for company. As months pass and the planet settles into an extended quarantine, their world shrinks, and they are forced to come to terms with an accelerated timeline for their relationship. With all their other interactions governed by screens, and with the strain of isolation setting in, Giovana and Yago struggle to reinvent themselves and reconcile the differences that threaten to tear them apart.
‘The Pink Cloud’ was written in 2017 and shot in 2019. Any resemblance to reality is pure coincidence, as its poster and trailer clearly warns. Although the film takes on a different interpretation because of the current pandemic—reaching a cathartic point for some—limiting it to comparisons with the current reality is unfair. This film, similarly to other recent Brazilian productions, perfectly intertwines science fiction and raw reality that deeply connects with the viewers.
In ‘The Pink Cloud’, Iuli Gerbase focuses on the protagonists. The director takes viewers through a reflection exercise on the human condition by focusing on the micro interactions of the protagonists. Gerbase wrote a script full of questions, to which her protagonists gave everything necessary to answer through the camera, with on target performances amid their ups and downs throughout the lockdown.
The cloud emanates peace, sensuality and despair, all of which contribute to Gerbase’s exploration of the human condition, as well as the ability—or not, to adapt to different situations. Yago is perhaps the one who has a more accentuated transformation, reaching a point of acceptance while giving up, and ending with a sort of veneration toward the mysterious cloud. Meanwhile, Giovana, although caught up in a role she may not have chosen, is more head-on and decides to face what this cloud means for her life.
A few years ago we would have seen this “fantasy” with other eyes. We would have analyzed the despair of humanity due to the quarantine with a certain distance and naivety, something that is completely relevant today, from the need for human interaction to the important role of technology and the amount of time spent in front of screens.
‘The Pink Cloud’ had its world premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition category of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, with a good reception from critics and the general public. Its next stop is the Miami Film Festival, with both a virtual and an in-person screening.