“Fever Dream” or “Distancia de Rescate” is a film by the Peruvian director Claudia Llosa, mainly known for having won the “Golden bear” at the Berlin International Film Festival for “Fausta” (2009). The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name written published in 2014 and written by Samanta Schweblin, who actively participated in writing the film alongside Claudia Llosa. The film will be available on Netflix from October 13, 2021.
In “Fever Dream”, Claudia Llosa addresses the theme of the mother/child relationship. A theme that she has mastered and which represents her and her cinema since it is at the center of several of her previous films “Aloft” (2014) and “La teta asustada” (2009). Presented at the San Sebastián International Film Festival in 2021, the film was nominated for the “Golden Seashell”.
The film unfolds through Amanda’s (played by María Valverde) reminiscences through her conversation with a child, David (Emilio Vodanovich). Thanks to Amanda’s memories, which are refined as the film progresses, we learn more about the different protagonists and the different events which already have already taken place. For the vacations, Amanda and her daughter Nina (played by Guillermina Sorribes Liotta) move to an isolated house. They will have Carola (played by Dolores Fonzi) and her son David for neighbors, who maintain a very nebulous relationship.
Soon, Carola will share with Amanda some very disturbing elements about her son David. These revelations will tip the film into another dimension, more spiritual and mysterious, gradually losing touch with realism. The main strength of this film is this narrative peculiarity, the film being articulated around the dialogue between Amanda and David. But this strength tends to become a weakness at some points in the film where the pace sometimes becomes a bit jerky and the plot seems to struggle a bit to move forward.
However, the interest of the plot and the superb photography manage to make us forget about these small drops in rhythm. The relationship between these two women that everything opposes, Amanda and Carola also allows the film to work well, the interpretation of the Spanish actress Maria Valverde is particularly convincing.
Like in the book from which the film is adapted, “Fever Dream” tries to address in an underlying way, environmental and social problems present in the world but especially in some South American countries like Argentina. Where we find an excessive and uncontrolled use of pesticides leading to various very negative consequences for local populations.
“Fever Dream” will capture the interest of the audience thanks to its original plot, its convincing actors and its narration. But this narrative bias could also displease some.
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