It will tell the haunting story of broken souls, toxins, looming environmental and spiritual catastrophes, and the ties that bind a parent to a child.It will tell the haunting story of broken souls, toxins, looming environmental and spiritual catastrophes, and the ties that bind a parent to a child.It will tell the haunting story of broken souls, toxins, looming environmental and spiritual catastrophes, and the ties that bind a parent to a child.
The director Claudia Llosa carries out a complex and disturbing story, quite faithful to the novel by Samanta Schweblin (both are co-writers of the film), a psychological thriller with edges of terror where the threats and the danger that tighten the rope of the "distance of rescue " between a mother and her little daughter could be located in fantastic elements, in the most real of worlds, or in both.
Amanda (María Valverde) arrives at a country house to spend a vacation with her little daughter Nina. There she establishes a relationship with a neighbor, Carola (Dolores Fonzi), mother of a disturbing boy named David. From certain revelations from Carola, Amanda will perceive a growing sense of danger.
Of course, Fever Dream widely transcends this synopsis. It was a challenge to transfer to the cinema the extraordinary homonymous nouvelle of the Argentine Samanta Schweblin, given its complex narrative structure, which the film by Claudia Llosa (co-writer with the novelist) maintains and which makes the film retain a certain literary imprint.
This complexity has to do with several factors, basically with the point of view. The story is narrated and driven by an off-screen dialogue between Amanda and David, in which he precisely guides the former (and the viewer) on a journey through the extensive flash back that constitutes most of the film. It is not known where (either exactly when) this dialogue takes place, but it occurs at a critical moment for Amanda, in which David's voice forces her to search for the keys to understand what happened, to understand how it got there. It should be noted that there was no way to avoid that literary dialogue in off of a double narrator since it is essential for the structure and the sense of the story. The timelines, which come and go, and which at times open like a set of Chinese boxes, are complex but quite clear.
In this story Amanda mentions what she calls "rescue distance" (itle of the film and the novel in Spanish), which she understands as the maximum distance that can exist between a mother and her child so that she can keep him or her safe and which is perceived as an invisible thread that unites them and that reaches its maximum tension when that distance is reached and that can be broken if exceeded. The concept of distance as a limit that operates in a bond and that is a factor of anguish in the film, takes on a disturbing premonitory quality (the novel predates the covid pandemic) since it is inevitable to relate it to that of social distance and with other realities of a threatening environment.
Carola tells Amanda (who is waiting for her husband to arrive to join her vacation) what happened to her son, a disturbing story that, added to the voice-over story, will mark the climate of the entire history. In this way, Llosa carries out a complex and disturbing story about these two mothers and their children, a kind of psychological thriller with edges of terror where the threats and the danger that tighten the rope of the rescue distance between mother and daughter could be located in fantastic elements, in the truest of worlds, or both.
Valverde, Fonzi and the children are very good in their roles and the complex fragmentary narrative structure of the film is excellently assembled. The film exploits very well the beautiful exteriors where it takes place and which are also, in some way, essential protagonists of the story.
I must clarify that my vision of the film was somewhat "contaminated" because I read the book before. I can point out that the adaptation is quite faithful to the novel, although in it the sensation of terror is more suffocating because the story is more urgent. But also, having read it, the disturbing is perceived from before. That is why it is not a bad idea to see this movie again knowing where it is going.
- Oct 14, 2021