Divine Love
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Divine Love

The first word that comes to mind when thinking about the thematically complex yet always accessible fiction films of Brazilian filmmaker Gabriel Mascaro is “sensual.” His previous two features, August Winds (2014) and Neon Bull (2015), luxuriated in flesh-on-flesh couplings in ways that suggested the love scene is still far from a tired old cinematic trope — as long as you Frozen 2 manage to suggest that the physical act comes from a place of desire that feels at once overwhelming and the most natural thing in the world.

Fast forward to 2019, or rather 2027, the year Mascaro’s third feature, Divine Love (Divino amor), is set. In the eight years since today, Brazil has become Better Start Running a fully Evangelical nation in all but name, as if the newly elected, right-wing and “pro-family” president, Jair Messias Bolsonaro — note that middle name! — had had his way with the nation for the two four-year mandates he could have theoretically been governing the country for. There’s again plenty of sex on display, but what’s fascinating is that in this neon-colored, semi-futuristic Brazil, coitus has become perverted and non-natural; it may be sensual to watch, but its goals are anything but sexy. What’s more, it might not even be really necessary.

Again gorgeously shot and produced, impressively acted and with a lot of fascinating things on its mind, this is yet further proof that the 35-year-old Mascaro is Singularity one of Brazil’s most audacious and gifted filmmakers of his generation. After a world premiere at Sundance, this very of-the-moment parable will have its European premiere in the Panorama strand of the Berlinale.

Duration: 140 min

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Divine Love
Divine Love
Divine Love