“The Fever”, directed by Maya Da-Rin, is a Brazilian film which has received more than 24 awards and 7 nominations in different festivals around the world. The film focuses mainly on the latent effects of capitalism and industrialization on the people but also on the Brazilian biodiversity.
Justino (played by Regis Myrupu) is a 45 year-old member of the indigenous Desana people. He works as a security guard in the port of Manaus and recently develops a mysterious fever. Justino is a discreet man, following the death of his wife and the departure of his son, he lives alone with his daughter Vanessa (played by Rosa Peixoto). She has been admitted to a medical school in the Brazilian capital and will soon leave him.
The film is composed of many fixed shots. These shots allow us to appreciate superb sequences filmed between the containers on the port of Manaus, in the agitation of the city or in the sumptuous and green Brazilian forest. The rhythm of the film is relatively slow, very contemplative and allows us to penetrate intensely into the repetitive daily life of Justino. The multiple moments of silence that shape the film also contribute to this desired slowness.
Through this film, Maya Da-Rin, an anti-Bolsonaro, tries to alarm us about the catastrophic current state of Brazil. We find several strong themes, racism, massive industrialization leading to the destruction of biodiversity, generational shock but also the alienation of workers.
Within his work, Justino is monitored, restricted. In his own words, he feels “like a hunter without a prey” and thus maintains a feeling of uselessness. After long hours alone guarding containers, he has to walk for a long time to reach the first public transport to finally get home. Régis Myrupu is amazing in this role of a solitary man, almost mute, who seems powerless, and ready to accept his fate.
Through the character of Justino and his daughter Vanessa, Maya Da-Rin paints a portrait of the city of Manaus. A city which has progressed economically, leaving behind its people at every levels, public transport, access to health and education. A city that destroys and damages the surrounding natural spaces without really caring about the impact this could have in the future.
With “The Fever”, Maya Da-Rin succeeds in her challenge. She manages to make a shocking film, aesthetically successful. In which the rhythm is perfectly controlled and the characters smartly written and justly interpreted.
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