'Divine Love' is a strange film: it begins as a vaguely sci-fi tale when we meet Joana, a woman who lives in the Brazil of 2027. It is a society where people's lives are documented and bar-coded to the nth degree: a person's marital status - and in the case of women, whether or not they are pregnant - are automatically detected and displayed for all to see when entering buildings. Joana and her husband are members of a religious group (the eponymous 'Divine Love') that encourages free love. But despite frequent sexual couplings with a variety of partners, Joana, to the couple's disappointment, never falls pregnant. When that situation changes, however, the film shifts to become more of a religious allegory. I saw this at the 2019 London Film Festival (LFF), the programme of which included many films about people obsessing over having babies. If Joana's treatment of a litter of puppies is any indication of her caring instincts, I would not let her anywhere near a child, but animal cruelty aside it is hard not to feel sympathy for her, as actress Dira Paes gives the character dignity even in scenes shared with a cheesy 'drive-thru' pastor (Emílio de Melo in a gift of a role that he sensibly treats subtly rather than playing for belly laughs). I am not sure I need to watch this again, but it was certainly worth watching once. I just hope the LFF programmers choose fewer baby-obsessive films next year...
Drama / Sci-Fi
Drama / Sci-Fi
A woman uses her bureaucratic job to convince divorcing couples to stay together is utterly committed to getting pregnant by her husband in a future of dance parties, ritualistic orgies and fundamentalist Christianity.
November 27, 2020