Movie Diary 4/11/2021

I hope to be checking out things in the current Seattle International Film Festival this week, all happening virtually. So far:

The Pink Cloud (Iuli Gerbase, 2021). Brazilian movie about unexplained pink clouds that gather over a city, cause instant death, and drive the population indoors … for years. The movie must’ve seemed like a really original idea when written and shot – how could the filmmakers have known it would come true by the time the film came out? Watching it in the shadow of the pandemic provides an uncomfortable number of too-close-to-home moments, and if Gerbase – this is her first feature – doesn’t hit all the possibilities in the situation (you may find yourself asking, Why is this scene here, and not that scene?), she certainly knows how to set and sustain a mood. It’s also one of those “limited perspective” films that finds clever ways to work within its space – in this case, a roomy condo with ample views.

Mogul Mowgli (Bassam Tariq, 2020). A showcase here for Riz Ahmed, who also co-wrote the screenplay with the director. The actor plays a rising but no longer young rapper, stricken with a mysterious ailment on the verge of a big chance at opening for a major star during a European tour. I’m not sure how thoroughly the movie blends the character study with the cultural issues of Pakistani Muslims assimilating into British culture, as a lot of things get raised without being deeply explored. But Ahmed is a powerhouse, never less than nervy and arresting, and the film – like The Pink Cloud – finds an ending that is both suspended in mid-step but also somehow the right moment to finish on.