One day, life is normal and ordinary. The next, the world is enveloped in a pink miasma that takes all of 10 seconds to kill anyone who comes in contact with it. That’s the setup for Iuli Gerbase’s debut feature, The Pink Cloud, which she wrote in 2017 and shot in 2019, before anyone knew that this film would serve as a useful allegory for a real-life pandemic that has disrupted our lives in countless ways.
The cloud arrives suddenly, and the only way to stay safe from it is to go indoors and stay there. This results in some odd bedfellows, literally in the case of central characters Giovana (Renata de Lélis) and Yago (Eduardo Mendonça). They literally just met, and now their one-night stand is turning, by necessity, into something far more long-lasting. Their situation is certainly more fortunate than some—both are attractive, pleasant people, and their “prison” is a comfortable modern home full of art and books and electronic devices to help pass the time. On the other hand, these are people used to being in control of their lives, and they’ve found themselves living in a new reality with little resemblance to their previous normal, and with no indication of whether the old normal will ever return.
Although there is a science fiction aspect to The Pink Cloud, it’s not the kind of movie that is interested in large-scale world-building or in offering explanations about what the miasma is, where it came from, or how it works. Rather mysteriously, for instance, walls and windows seem to present an absolute barrier to the miasma, the way some folklore insists witches can’t cross running water. To cite another unexplored issue, Giovana and Yago have everything they need—so someone must be manufacturing and packaging the necessities that are delivered by drone, and keeping the electricity on and the cell networks working. We never learn how this is managed, but that may be a deliberate choice by the filmmaker to comment on how much we take for granted in our modern lives.
The point of The Pink Cloud is not the science of the cloud, but the way people react to enforced togetherness and abrupt changes in their lives. Yago, a chiropractor, is thrust into involuntary idleness, while Giovana, a web designer who works from home, can continue with her work and must support them both. They try to stay in touch with friends and family through their phones, carry on with household tasks, and watch television to pass the time. Giovana is soon pregnant, and gives birth in the bathtub, coached by a physician via her laptop. Their child, Lilo, grows up without ever having experienced the outdoors, but he’s pretty chill about it because, to him, that’s just the way life is.
For a film with an apocalyptic premise, The Pink Cloud has an oddly dreamy feel, a mood created in no small part through Bruno Polidoro’s pink-tinged cinematography and Bernardo Zortea’s art direction. Not all is well in the outside world (we see a suicide early on, and clips of looting), and relations within the household require negotiation and re-negotiation, but overall this film feels surprisingly calm and reassuring. In a world weary from a global pandemic, that’s worth a lot | Sarah Boslaugh
The Pink Cloud is distributed digitally and on VOD by Blue Fox Entertainment.