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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 09.30.21]

While the Toronto International Film Festival may have ended more than a week ago, our coverage from the festival continues with a batch of capsule reviews.

Imagine you go on a date, spend a great night together, and then are forced to spend the next decade together. That's exactly what happens to Giovana and Yago, a couple who go on a date and wake up the next morning to a dire warning: a deadly pink cloud is rolling into the City and everyone must get inside and stay put or risk dying.
As far as set-ups for a pandemic movie go, The Pink Cloud doesn't win any special prizes - though it is worth mentioning that the film was written and shot before the pandemic - but it provides a great opportunity for writer/director Iuli Gerbase to explore some of the issues that have come to the forefront over the past year.

Tackling issues of loneliness, routine, and relationships in close quarters, Gerbase really digs into what makes us tick, while at the same time observing how individuals and relationships change over time. Featuring great performances from Renata de Lélis and Eduardo Mendonça, The Pink Cloud is a great relationship drama set to the backdrop of the apocalypse; I call it that since there's no sign that the cloud will ever disappear.

Joaquin del Paso's The Hole in the Fence opens with a group of boys, most in private school uniforms, on a bus. They're headed to a religious summer school in the countryside, on the outskirts of a small town. The place is ominous, a large sprawling estate run by a group of men, some of them priests, others not, who run the place with an iron fist. There are many rules that the boys must abide by, but when the adults aren't looking... boys will be boys.

While out exploring the estate, a group of them discovers a hole in the fence. It doesn't seem like a big deal at first but as things around camp start to get strange - kids getting sick, kids getting beaten up, kids going missing - the hole becomes the elephant in the room, a symbol that they're not safe from the bad things on the other side of the fence.

A rather good argument could be made that The Hole in the Fence is a bit too on the nose; the fence is a symbol for the divide between the haves and the have nots and the hole, an opening in the division, can potentially erode the power of the rich. Sure, it's obvious but that doesn't detract from the fact that del Paso's film is well made, features a great roster of young acting talent, and is sometimes scary AF.

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