Social Media has become a hot subject for filmmakers around the world. And why not? Today, it affects us all, then why not films? While some movies underline the positive side of this new medium, many decide otherwise. The new media has escalated addiction, narcissism, and depression. The hunt for attention and validation today is more than it was in yesteryears. Brazilian film Carnaval follows a similar subject.
A social media influencer, Nina, with some 300k followers, is fortunate to have three best friends. Veterinarian Mayra, Casanova Michelle, and Geeky Vivi are with Nina in thick and thin. These three people try to comfort her and be with her when she finds a viral video of her hunk boyfriend cheating on her.
Out of the blue, without any logical explanation, Nina gets a chance to attend Bahia’s vibrant Carnival in Salvador city. It is not surprising that Nina invites her three best friends for the trip. Well, a girls’ vacation, to be precise.
In Salvador, Nina is looked upon lowly because of having less than 1 million followers. However, the fact only bothers her and not her “going with the life” friends. But if something bothers a protagonist, then she is going to make amendments. Carnaval further explores Nina’s struggle to gain limelight and increase her followers count as much as possible (because there is no end to this addiction).
I don’t know if I am capable enough to review Carnaval because, to be honest, there isn’t anything to comment on. The film is just as flashy as it sounds. The characters are stereotyped and extremely loud. And above all, the story isn’t better than an Instagram story, just stretched for 94 minutes for no apparent reason. Performance-wise, well, it’s a masterclass in loud-acting.
Released during pride month, Carnaval celebrates the subject. But other than that, it holds no meaning. Its theme, to choose friends over followers, is a commendable message. But only if it had a better storyline things would have been impactful.
Cinematographer Marcelo Brasil has captured a composed and beautiful Salvador. His frames are as colorful as the city itself. The vibrant images capture your attention for a minute until a thin plot spoils it again. Director, Leandro Neri has integrated many sequences depicting the culture of the city. For a moment, I found it intriguing, but again, he was stretching the runtime. The visuals don’t fit in the larger picture and add nothing to the story. You can skip the whole bit, and still, you wouldn’t miss anything.
The entire film is like a moral ride for Nina, who understands through the journey that one shouldn’t ignore the real people for the sake of digits on an app. But her character is where the real problem lies. She has no consciousness of her own. She is just drifting around. A sluggish character with no motivation at all. No wonder why this film was so wrong.
If you are looking for a suggestion, watch anything but this one. Netflix is famous for its crappy rom-com, and Carnaval is one of them.
Carnaval is a 2021 rom-com film directed by Leandro Neri.