Matt Campbell, who was named interim artistic director of the Denver Film Festival after the death of his predecessor, Brit Withey, earlier this year, is our guide to the cinematic event's 42nd edition, which continues through November 10. Campbell has chosen a must-see film for each day of the fest. Keep reading to get his take on the selection for November 5: Divine Love.
Directed by Gabriel Mascaro
Tuesday, November 5, 4:30 p.m., UA Pavilions
Divine Love is a film from Brazil, whose national cinema is being spotlighted during this year's festival — and its director, Gabriel Mascaro, has previously experienced DFF love. "His first film at the festival, [2014's] August Winds, won our Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Best Film the year it came out," Matt Campbell recalls.
Mascaro's latest offering "is set in the near future in Brazil, and it's a somewhat dystopic future," he concedes. "It's very conservative, evangelical, religious, but with a bizarre slant to it."
Here's the trailer for Divine Love:
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The protagonist is "a woman who works in a very bureaucratic setting for the government, processing divorce applications," Campbell goes on, "and since she's a devout evangelical Christian, she tries to convince all the people who want to get a divorce to stay together. Then, at night, she and her current husband are part of this weird church group. It's kind of a Bible study, but it's also an orgy — so they talk about the Good Word and then they all have sex with each other. They think it gets them closer to God."
Deeper into the plot, he notes, "the woman gets pregnant, and they do a DNA test and find out that the father isn't her husband or any of the other group members. So she thinks it's divine — that the good Lord impregnated her."
There's satire at play in the presentation, but Campbell sees the themes operating on various levels. As such, he's thrilled that "we're going to have a discussion after the screening is over with D-phi [the Denver Project for Humanistic Inquiry, a Metropolitan State University of Denver project]. I think people are really going to want to talk about it, because in this film, the patriarchy is definitely alive and well."