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|Index||15 reviews in total|
This movie completely took me by surprise. I was a bit taken aback by a
commenter here who found it odd that the main character had not been
out in the "world". Until recently when the US government made it
mandatory for citizens who carry a passport when visiting our neighbors
Canada and Mexico, only 20% of Americans had passports. I.e, only 20%
of Americans have a clue as to how hated we are in the world. But, I
For every issue one can imagine, there are always two sides of the proverbial coin.
The character that Vanessa Redgrave plays is one who becomes aware that there are people in the world that work just as hard as she had in her lifetime who have less. Far less. And this is a message that for Americans (I cannot speak for anyone else in the world and do not presume to speak for all Americans) this is a difficult concept. For here anyone born into any circumstance has the possibility of making anything out of oneself with hard work and dedication. It is hard to conceive of countries where that is not a possibility.
In a foreign country and in the midst of a fever, a woman examines her upbringing, her circumstances, and her shock that not everyone who works hard attains prosperity. Her torment is merely what each and everyone of us should examine in our own lives, especially at a time when immigration is such an issue in the US, a country born to welcome the downtrodden from other countries. When her fever ends, she longs for her soft cotton sheets and other comforts of her home and that with which she is familiar. Yet she is changed. For she is awakened.
I think this film is one that everyone should see. And now that HBO has begun to air it, there is no excuse not to see it. It is not black and white. There are no clear cut villains or heroes. There are issues of entitlement but entitlement is an ongoing issue to any thinking person. It is something men take for granted that women will never know. It is something whites takes for granted that people of color will never know. Entitlement is often so subtle that it takes intense examination to truly understand what it is. And this is something "The Fever" undertakes. Everyone works hard. Why does it have pay offs for some and not for all? Don't disregard this film as just another "liberal" film. Let it seep into your soul and give it some real thought. For it is truly food for thought. It is food for the soul.
The scene with Micheal Moore and the conversation about the delicious ice cream is a powerful scene. It is one that can be applied daily here in the US (obviously not as milk). One can use the milk to make ice cream to increase tourism to a country and thus prosper the country. Or, it can be used to feed all the children (and thus prosper the country in a different manner).
Metaphysically this movie pits the concept of limitation against the concept of limitlessness. Methaphorically speaking, is there really only enough milk for one or the other? Does this movie perpetuate the illusion of the responsibility of fairness in the world when not only is that concept subjective but obviously (if only noted of birth circumstances) to be a falsehood? Or does this movie inspire us to strive to make the world a better place for all? Should one feel guilt when one realizes that ones hard work does not justify ones comfort, when in reality all work hard but are not all comfortable? And what steps should we take when that realization is made?
See this movie, if for no other reason than . . . to think. It deserves your thought.
What I thought of was that song, "he ain't heavy. He's my brother."
I categorically disagree with the comment left by the last person. I believe that individual missed the point of the movie entirely. This was an observation of first world Capitalism through the eyes of someone who was exposed to the concept of Marxism. Through the eyes of Marxism, the statements made, (not only with regard to the reasons for poverty conditions in third world countries, but the self-realizations of "place in the world" delivered by Vanessa Redgrave), are entirely accurate. The movie acknowledges that some of the concepts of Marxism are impenetrable and even dead, if not antiquated. It does, however,take an artistic view of how, through that belief system, a woman who is fully immersed in Western commerce is given the opportunity to look at how things are in this world through another belief system. A belief system which, by the end of the movie, is given somewhat of a revival because of the truth about what Capitalism (and prior to that Imperialism) does to third world countries. Poor governmental structures are not the cause of third world poverty, rather the result of societies that have no importance to first world governments. Vanessa Redgrave's performance is truly outstanding. The movie is not to be missed, with which to either agree or disagree.
When I read a description of "The Fever" and saw that it stars Vanessa
Redgrave and Michael Moore, I knew that I was in for something
politically charged. But I didn't realize how politically charged.
Redgrave plays an anonymous rich woman who takes a trip to an
economically depressed country with no identified name or geographic
location (although it looks kind of like they combined Latin America
with Eastern Europe). Coming down with a fever there, she now has to
reassess how and why she lives a privileged life, and whether or not
she even deserves it.
I wholeheartedly recommend this movie, not least as a study of the class system dominating the world. Not only do they look at that, but also at the oft failed aim of revolutions (the leaders quickly become as corrupt as they thugs whom they overthrew). But it certainly sides with the pro-democracy movement over the oligarchy; after all, democracy is the worst form of government except all the others.
Anyway, this is one that you have to see. It's no surprise that Wallace Shawn wrote this, given the great work that he's done in the past. Also starring Angelina Jolie, and directed by Carlo Nero (Vanessa Redgrave's son whom she had with "Camelot" co-star Franco Nero).
I saw this at the Virginia film festival and it was wonderful. Could have used better direction, but Vanessa Redgrave was marvelous nonetheless. As an added note, she did not get her son this film. He got it on his own and had her star in it. I thought it was a brilliant piece of work that could have been better but got its message across. It Was Wonderful And deserves much, much more Also, this film was a HUGE HIT at the festival. They had to add another day to screen it because it was sold out on its regular schedule and there was so much demand. So to those who don't like it, I say that the general public (At least those in Virginia) love it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
People with guilty conscious, benefiting from the theft of others'
labor will be offended by this film. Beware.
Yet, those who want an intellectual challenge, and an honest search for what lies behind our identity, and our relationship to the world through commodities provided by the market that are supposed to give us happiness are in for a wonderful treat.
Capitalism preaches happiness through material purchases. Commodities such as fancy clothes that accentuate one's shallow character, edible underwear, vaginal deodorants, ballet performances, superficial theater performances that exaggerate the life styles of the rich and the wannabe rich flock the markets for those who are made to think their salvation lies in buying more and more. But how many stop to think the background of the "Gods", the commodities? A simple inquiry into what materials mean to us, what ties us to the rest of humanity, the relationships created by the market system will also reveal what kind of people we are made to be.
This is a dangerous trip though. You may not like what you will find. Why can one afford a sailing yacht while millions can not afford a pair of shoes? What makes people "terrorist?" Is our system just or is it a legalized theft system? What is our position and place in such a system? Who am I? Do I care if I am a thief or an honest person? Pursuing honesty is a tough choice. Redgrave questions herself in the society she lives in. She examines the relationships that we were instructed to ignore. Instead of rushing to the market to buy yet another purse or a new golf club to get her daily fix of superficial consumerist lust in a capitalist society, she investigates the forbidden ties which reveal the social truth behind the material goods. There she finds herself and lays her personality on the table to dissect.
She is torn between becoming a true honest, respectable human being or accepting the capitalist animal side that will benefit from the grand theft rampant in a market system. All she has to do is either submit to her system created personality, close her eyes to the truth and eat, drink be happy in the face of global looting and rape the easy choice-, or face torture, misery and even death, just like millions of others are going through every day who have the courage to stand up and resist to the unjust, criminal and illegitimate capitalist system. This dilemma of relationships between two sides of her personality, the truth and the lies of our market driven system is portrayed perfectly in this film.
The film portrays an intellectual, liberal, middle class women who wants to do good. But the real thieves, the capitalist class is nowhere to be found in the film. The film does not lecture on what is good and bad, it does not preach to us the obvious criminality of the capitalist system or who is really behind the theft. Through her inquiring middle class mind, we are treated to her internal quest, trying to do the right thing, understanding the roots of her privilege in an unjust society and the connections she (we) can not deny or ignore: It is a zero sum game. In the market, one wins because others have lost.
But after realizing these facts, what to do about it? Ignore all and be happy, or face the brutal attacks capitalism can and do wage against anyone who has the courage to question these ills? The film, done with superb acting, fulfilling as a stage play and very powerful monologues leaves a bitter sweet taste as one desires simple quick answers to be given on the screen. But life does not provide quick McAnswers as we are promised in a superficial market driven system.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
... but not happy with the personal guilt trip!!! (most probably
This is a personal reflection on how what we do every day, what we buy, what we wear can affect someone somewhere in the world. As a upper middle class living in a city Europe 'the woman' (Vanessa Redgrave) lives a happy life until starts hearing strangers and friends talk about injustice and inequalities in the world.
At some point she's prompted to travel (it seems that she's never been out there in the WORLD!?) to a small X country where a revolutionary government is running the show and then to a neighboring country where a dictator is in power to see the difference and compare them. All goes well until she's back home and she can't get out of her head those poor oppressed people. In other words she got: THE FEVER.
Unfortunately there's a big-long-guilt ridden monologue that blames all in the self. Yes its true that we as individuals contribute in one way or other to others suffering but IMO it's necessary to put it in context and compare it to the impact of a big business or government have on it, and ultimately the responsibility lies in society as a whole.
The cast couldn't be better and the acting is great, from the Human right activist to the fiery rebel to the foreign correspondent and the every day people that are part of the woman's life. The settings also make you feel somewhere out in the world from cosmopolitan cities to places where the streets are not paved, houses are falling apart and people are v. poor. The film also includes animated sequences sprinkled along the plot to illustrate the past of this woman, that gives work very well giving a sense of childhood memories.
Highly recommended movie (see it before the holiday shopping season begins :)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I guess if you woke up one day and suddenly realized that there was misery in the world, you might find this movie an epiphany. It is a polemic of the worst order. The implication is that we are all guilty of gross aggrandizement since the times of the land grabs of the 14th century. Well, most of our ancestors escaped that land grab and came to America... unless the diatribe is referring to the land grab from the indigenous peoples of this country. If it is, why didn't they make it here and why were there no "Indians" in it? I'm a rabid left wing radical, most of the time, but I know when I see tripe pawned off as truth. Anyone who rates this movie highly is merely trying to make themselves feel better after they sent their $25.00 check off to "Save the Children." That's guilt money, not an answer. If people want to do something constructive, Impeach Bush and his cadre of war mongers who have brought more misery to the world than any previous regime, reverse the policies of the World Bank and IMF... and if you're really feeling guilty...tithe... send 10% of your income to world charities that feed people who are starving.
This is a tough concept to take in, but yes somewhere down the line we
all are guilty. We may not know it, but we are. But then again that's
how this chaos called world runs.
For some this movie is just too much over their heads, for some its gold, some its an awakening and to some just a movie. Well it all depends what we wanna see and what we have seen, in our life. Its not only whites or some other people who are the ones to be blamed or said to be the evil. But its a cycle. After all if one person is eating a meal that means, there is someone in this world who is going with out a meal. If you get a job then others don't. If you succeed then others fail, etc etc. But this is a thoughtful film, don't take it as an insult or disrespect just because you are rich or white or any one who feels offended for what reason god knows. You were just lucky nothing else, that you have the time to see and be repulsed by this movie. Some don't get enough time to even breath properly.
Hell is not somewhere we'll go when we die. Its a constant revisiting place, that we visit each time we come back to reality from a few moments of piece and or love. Blessed ones enjoy and for those who don't get it now, don't bother, because if you could then this movie wouldn't have been made. And don't look for solutions in this movie, its just a movie about realization not solutions.... If you think there is then look closer.
This film is not meant to be a denunciation of capitalism or an embrace of Marxism, only an examination of the intrusion of one upon the other. It does well reflect Vanessa Redgrave's own personal conflict between her own privileged existence and the less fortunate (by her standards) in the Third World. This is the eternal dichotomy facing so many (though not all) First World liberals. They fail to see that capitalism developed as a result of peasants informing themselves, working together and rising up to replace the hegemony which has dominated them. Historically, it has been a slow process, often taking centuries, even millenniums. First World liberals want to see it happen rapidly, but the Third World isn't ready for it. Those countries and their people must go through the process of education that will bring them to the point where they can successfully undertake "the revolution." It may not initially succeed, not because the cause isn't righteous but because the people aren't sufficiently steeled to survive it. The reviewers of this film, for the most part, only see the perceived injustice - capitalism is the oppressor, because of its success. But that is only because they see the Third World peoples aspiring to be the First World's definition of success. There is no indication that this is true. Rather, it would seem that the so-called "poor people" just want life to be a bit better. Over the long run this will work its way to great success. The process cannot be rushed; historically, that has never worked. There are many capitalists who see their mission as helping to make lives a little bit better, in small steps which can assimilated, not upheaval which can't be encompassed in such a large dose. That is why one cannot impose democracy on a country which is still living in a society rooted in the way of life of centuries ago. In my view, the film acknowledges this while still encouraging us to accept the challenge of reaching out. The reviewers, mostly, missed it.
Adapted from Wallace Shawn's play, The Fever is a rather obscure film. It was made as an HBO film, but it never received much support from the network and subsequently was aired years after it was completed with little fanfare. It's the story of an upper-middle class woman's political awakening as she learns why there is such a massive gap between the rich and the poor, while coming to a realization about her own place in society. It utilizes long monologues and animated sequences to illustrate certain points, and it powerfully describes the exploitative and imperialistic relationship the first world has with the third. While some reviewers say it's about "white guilt," more accurately it's about understanding the true nature of capitalism, as well as what is necessary to bring a new and better world into being: revolution. Hollywood legend Vanessa Redgrave stars and lends considerable gravitas to the controversial material.
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