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Film Review: ‘The Pink Cloud’ is as Unsettlingly Prescient as it is Unusually Compelling

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If the opening title card of The Pink Cloud didn’t state that the film was written in 2017 and film in 2019, you never would have believed it. Literally moments into this movie, you’d swear it was a slightly tinkered with look at what we all just went through. The fact that it was created as character based science fiction, without a basis in fact, boggles my mind. It also allows you to appreciate the creativity and vision of the filmmaker, likely in a different way than anyone who watched the flick prior to lockdown. To that end, this little indie is one of the more unique titles out there to start off 2022.

The Pink Cloud is a depiction of lockdown made all the more fascinating by how it was conceived and produced prior to COVID. Again, without prior knowledge, you’d 100% assume it was made during 2021. Instead, it’s predictive, while also now, coming out a while after its initial festival runs, reflective on a situation we’re still going through. Talk about a hell of a calling card, right?

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When a pink cloud mysteriously appears in the sky, the world is hardly prepared for what comes next. You see, the cloud is deadly, killing anyone outside in its vicinity after ten seconds. So, the world orders its citizens indoors to quarantine. Being locked down is one thing (as we all know), but for Giovana (Renata de Lélis) and Yago (Eduardo Mendonça), it’s a horse of a different color, considering they’re strangers. Having just met the night before at a party and being in the midst of a one night stand, they’re thrust into a situation with no end in sight or playbook for how to handle it all.

As time passes and the cloud remains a threat, Giovana and Yago navigate lockdown in a way that may be more than familiar to many. Initially, they balance trying to have fun, mostly through sex, with worries about the world. Then, the longer it goes on, the more conflicts and real life issues come up, even as the rest of society deals with the cloud in increasingly unsettling ways. To say more spoils the surprise, but this manages to not go in the directions you’d expect, while somehow traversing all of the ground we went through a year ago.

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Renata de Lélis and Eduardo Mendonça are both good in the film, though they may even underplay the drama of it all. They’re playful scenes together are strong though, and that balances it out for The Pink Cloud. de Lélis gets to have her character evolve a bit more than Mendonça, but it’s still a pair of performances you’re keen to watch for 100 minutes plus. The supporting cast includes the likes of Helena Becker, but this is largely a two hander, through and through.

Filmmaker Iuli Gerbase somehow predicted the future here. Her feature directing debut, it’s assured and well staged, showcasing a definite future behind the camera. Gerbase directs things in a simple yet confident manner, but it’s her writing that shines. This script, which somehow was penned two years prior to COVID, really gets it right. Somehow, a sci-fi scenario allowed her to be right on the money with what our lives would become in 2020. Wow.

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More often than not over the past year or so, I’ve been left wanting more from projects that depict COVD and/or lockdown. It seems like quarantine didn’t bring out any additional creativity, only a rumination of the same things we’d already dealt with. Here, by being a work of fiction (or maybe some form of speculative fiction?), the details both feel more cinematic, and oddly, realer. It’s a truly unusual situation, but one that I found myself roped in by.

The Pink Cloud does only really work like it does because of circumstance. Again, if it had been written during lockdown, not only would it have felt differently, it also just would have come off icky. Instead, it’s prescient and an unusual time capsule. Not everyone will be able to stomach the premise, but if you can, this is more than just a simple curiosity.

SCORE: ★★★


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Written by Joey Magidson

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