2027 is an odd date to set a film: it’s oddly close and only leaves a small space for the futuristic imagination. That’s why it is such a unique positioning for Gabriel Mascaro’s Divine Love, a quasi-sci-fi tale about religion and the state. In order to tackle such sprawling questions, Divine Love illuminates the struggles of Joana, a woman who is faithful in her relationship to God, which is put to the test as she struggles to conceive a child.
The production design adds a beguiling dimension to the film. There is no clutter of religious iconography. Instead, the frames are filled with fluorescent lights that emanate an aura of divinity mingled with a feeling of electronica. In the Brazil of 2027 the country’s most popular festival is no longer Carnaval but the festival of Supreme Love. We recognise its imagery from the EDM raves but the pyrotechnics are celebrating the glory of God.
Mascaro’s world is inventive and fun. There are moments of genuine and pleasant surprise, such as the drive-through churches that mimic a McDonald’s or even the practices within the Divine Love group.
The skill of Mascaro’s project is that he creates something at once familiar and strange. Allowing us to see the simple steps that can lead the course of history from one place to another.
Mary-Catherine Harvey, The Upcoming