Fevered Returns

Indigeneity and Modernity in A Febre

  • Jessica Carey-Webb University of New Mexico
Keywords: Amazonia, Brazilian film, indigeneity, Desana, modernity, perspectivism


This article examines the portrayal of Indigenous people and the environment through film in Brazil. A Febre, the 2019 Brazilian film written and directed by Maya Da-Rin, tells the story of a Desana man, Justino, who lives in the Amazonian city of Manaus and works as a security guard at a cargo port. As the film progresses, Justino experiences an intermittent fever with dreams and visions that call him back to his village in the forest. Modernity becomes a disease that pushes Justino to seek a closer relationship with nature. As a meditation on modernity and Indigeneity, the film reveals the toll of capitalism and the possibility of a return to nature. The film uses Indigenous concepts, specific to the heritage of the actors, and grounded in perspectivism, to move the plot forward. This article explores how the film uses Indigenous concepts to question the unequal processes of Brazilian modernity.