The Fever is a thoughtful and profound look at the struggle between natural and man-made worlds. Its slow pace and lingering atmosphere draw one in, allowing for the quiet moments to speak truth to power and leave a devastating impression.
Documentarian Maya Da-Rin’s fiction debut follows Justino (Regis Myrupu), an indigenous man living in the Brazilian city of Manaus who, upon hearing that his daughter will be going to Brasilia to study medicine, is overcome with a mysterious fever. His life is one of routine as he goes between his home and his job as a security guard at a container port with quiet efficiency. Given that the protagonist lives in the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, nature is a constant presence in his life, but it is also a distant one.
It is this conflict that makes the story such an engrossing watch. The character’s existence in an urban sprawl is almost inherently contradictory and his indigenous identity is slowly erased by the increasing modernisation of the city. Simultaneously, he faces the prejudices that many minority groups tackle every day. The film does not romanticise this way of living; instead it displays the mundanities of everyday life for people such as Justino by showing him on the bus or discussing DIY jobs with his son. These are universal moments experienced by everyone, but viewers are reminded throughout the piece that this is a world that will inevitably erase this man’s way of life, subsuming him into the mass of modern existence.
As the titular fever begins to impact him every day, the father is drawn towards his heritage for answers to his malaise. He attempts to explain to his daughter, who is stumped by the sudden onset of his disease, that this may have derived from something that modern medicine is unable to explain. But as with the rest of the feature, this idea is portrayed in an incredibly tasteful way that conveys the complexities of each character. Da-Rin stays away from cliche or idealisation, allowing for the inherent beauty in the indigenous culture to shine through. It is delicate, insightful and incredibly moving.
The Fever is a fantastic and poignant film that manages, through careful direction and superb storytelling, to leave a lasting impression.
The Fever is released in select cinemas on 6th August 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Fever here: