Lago Film Festival review: La Fièvre

During a feverish night in Morocco, a child senses the presence of a ghost, a non-visible speaker who is returning from the sea to her home after a long political exile. They cross Morocco, searching for her lost childhood as well as her hometown. The child of the present and the political refugee coming home are now one, wandering through neglected building sites and houses that no longer exist.

The French Moroccan photographer and filmmaker Safia Benhaim re-interprets the ´Arab Spring´ in her flm La Fièvre (A Spell of Fever) (Dir.Safia Benhaim, France ,2015), which won The Canon Tiger Awards for short films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2015.

A revolution driven by uprisings and demonstrations lies in the many social, economical and political issues that have plagued Morocco since its independence. A silent tale, a history of the country and its people reminisces the struggles that have begun after the monarchy returned and the ones that are yet to happen.

The voiceover narration and the female protagonist transport the viewer in a cinematic border line where the poetic use of images and hallucinogenic soundtrack engage with complex political histories, flooding the past through the relationship between the visible and the invisible. The feverish pace as well as the arresting cinematography retrieve collective and individual memories about a disturbing historical event that cannot be entirely soluble in the visible. The director reflects upon real and imagined memories connected to a place, working with the idea of performing architecture, something as superficial as a strange building, which appears to be her lost memories. A body-less voice and visions mingle in a magical film essay where reminiscences of forgotten political fights appear and disappear from the black screen with the hallucinations of fever. The particular artistic and aesthetic technique stands as a source of historical reflection constituted of images that, like memories, are fragments in themselves. Representation is not intended as the act of producing a visible form, but of turning the reality of a situation into something which recreates the memory, the sensation, the feeling of that moment through the power of images or just through the background bombing noise originated from the darkness of an empty black screen.

Samuel Antichi (Italy)

Cineuropa Shorts, in collaboration with Nisimazine and Lago Film Fest (which ran this year from July 24th - August 1st), offers you film reviews and interviews made in Lago by Nisimazine’s team of young journalists.

01 October 2015, by Cineuropa Shorts