The quiet power of Brazilian writer-director Maya Da-Rin’s latest feature, The Fever, subtly hangs in the background, sneaking up on us when we least expect it, like the possibly supernatural creature that is reported to be roaming the wilderness in this delicately hypnotic story.
Justino (Regis Myrupu) is a middle-aged Indigenous man who lives and works in the city of Manaus, an area where man-made industry sits among the lush Amazon rainforest, continually threatening to overtake one another. A recent widower, Justino works as a security guard at a cargo shipping port and doesn’t have much else going on except for a strong relationship with his grown daughter, Vanessa (Rosa Peixoto), a nurse who lives nearby. But when she gets the opportunity to further her studies at med school in the country’s capital of Brasilia, all of Justino’s relatives worry that he won’t be able to cope by himself. Justino shrugs off the concern but his body says otherwise, plunging him into a strange fever that sends him into an intermittent haze.
The magic realist elements of The Fever are vague to the point of being almost non-existent, yet it works beautifully to keep us feeling slightly off-guard while entrancing us in this very human narrative. Da-Rin probes and represents Brazil’s Indigenous population admirably, as Justino continues to feel ever isolated from the natural world from which he was raised, while still dealing with casual racism from his more Anglicized co-workers.
Go get lost in the woods with this one.
- Rated: PG
- Genre: Drama
- Release Date: 9/7/2019
- Directed by: Maya Da-Rin
- Starring: Regis Myrupu, Rosa Peixoto
- Produced by: Leonardo Mecchi, Maya Da-Rin
- Written by: Maya Da-Rin, Miguel Seabra Lopes, Pedro Cesarino
- Studio: Enquadramento Produções, Tamanduá Vermelho
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