Stop me if you’ve heard this before: A deadly phenomenon has spread around the world, placing the entire civilization in a prolonged quarantine. Fights are breaking out in supermarkets and online. Video chat is becoming the center of human communication, playing host to everything from work meetings to birthday parties. Many people find that their partners and children are the only souls they will be keeping company with for the next few months.
This is the premise for “The Pink Cloud,” a Brazilian domestic drama with a dash of science fiction that, remarkably, was conceived in 2017 and filmed in 2019. Directed by newcomer Iuli Gerbase, it stars Renata de Lélis and Eduardo Mendonça as two 30-somethings, Giovana and Yago, who have a one-night stand and wake up the next morning to a mysterious pink cloud over their heads. city, which kills anyone who inhales it for 10 seconds. The government orders a nationwide lockdown and the two, alone together, are suddenly forced to consider a possible relationship.
Like other works of prescient sci-fi, “The Pink Cloud” portends an eerie funhouse mirror image of our current lives. FaceTime becomes the main channel for social gatherings; citizens receive government-provided care packages who feel inadequate; Locked alone in her house, Giovana’s boyfriend experiences symptoms of depression and wasting away.
The pace of the film often matches that static sensation, to a frustrating extent. Even as the lockdown accelerates the intimacy and conflict between the protagonists, their actions feel insignificant compared to the larger world out there. “The Pink Cloud” is most perceptive when it recognizes this degree of powerlessness, such as when a hopeful conclusion to disaster turns out to be a false alarm. Outside the cloud floats on, with no vanishing end in sight.
The pink cloud
Rated R for nudity, short language and pandemic-related despondency. In Portuguese and English, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes. In theaters.