AP PHOTOS: Brazil drive-in, a welcome escape from pandemic

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Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

A family watches a movie from the back of their car at a drive-in movie theater where drivers must leave one space empty between them amid the new coronavirus pandemic in Brasilia, Brazil, Saturday, May 23, 2020. The drive-in is 47 years old and one of the only such open-air facilities in operation in Brazil. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

BRASILIA – As daylight drained from the sky in Brazil’s capital, dozens of cars formed a line, all filled with passengers set to indulge in one of the few diversions allowed in the age of social distancing: a film at the drive-in.

Red lantern in hand, Jair de Souza guided the drivers through the drive-in’s entrance and showed them to their designated parking spots. “Every car must respect the distance, leaving a free parking space between you,” he tells each of them.

The Brasilia drive-in has been operating with only 150 cars, occupying about one-third of the lot. It offers three shows per day, with a movie for children at 6 p.m. followed by two features for adults. The drive-in is 47 years old and one of the only such open-air facilities in operation in Brazil. It was closed at the start of the pandemic, but reopened to the public at the start of April.

Minutes before the show began, people retrieved from their trunks the popcorn and snacks brought with them from home. Children sitting in the cars’ back seats were wild with excitement.

One mother brought her two children along after they had remained in quarantine since March.

In a nearby parking spot was Eduardo Cavalcanti, who came with his three kids. He readied a lawn chair for himself outside his car, leaving his daughters to the front seats, and plopped his young son on the vehicle’s roof. From there, the boy had a better view of the animated film, Smallfoot, about a human who goes to live in a village of yetis.

“My kids couldn’t stand being stuck inside home anymore,” Cavalcanti said. “My wife saw the ad for the drive-in and suggested we come. It was the only option to leave home and still stay safe.”