In the opening seconds of The Pink Cloud, director Iuli Gerbase explains that her first feature was written in 2017 and shot in 2019 and that any similarities to real life events were merely coincidental. While these caveats are not uncommon in films, to put a message like this front and center implies a significant link between the film’s presence and real-life events. In this case, it turns out that Gerbase inadvertently predicted the quarantine reality that would consume the world between the film’s inception and release.
The film begins with the titular cloud descending upon a young dog walker and taking its first life. Later that morning Giovana (Renata de Lélis) and Yago (Eduardo Mendonça) are woken up from their one-night stand by the sound of sirens alerting the city to the unprecedented emergency. The two thirtysomethings despite being unacquainted the morning prior are then forced to quarantine together until the cloud goes away. As the days together turn to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years, the relationship between the pair originally only searching for an uncomplicated fling is tried, broken, and repaired only to be tried and broken again.
Despite being conceived in a pre-COVID world, it would be impossible to evaluate The Pink Cloud without making parallels to the real-life quarantine that has impacted much of the world over the past 12 months. Giovana and Yago’s experience with the imposed quarantine resonates with the world experience of the audience in a way that Gerbase could never have anticipated. She perfectly encapsulates the feeling that, while the reason for a quarantine may be valid, the tedium from a life in quarantine is not without serious mental consequences of its own. The characters all struggle to attain the acceptance stage of grief because as time progresses hope seems fruitless.
Any year prior to this, The Pink Cloud would likely receive festival-only buzz wherever it was shown. Iuli Gerbase shows substantial skills as a first-time director, but her film is enough outside the formula of what breaks out of festivals for it to reach a wider notoriety. However, since the film was able to perfectly tap into a collective trauma her debut is permeating the cultural zeitgeist as the first great COVID film.