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On the Verge of a Fever

Maluala - directed by Sergio Giral

John L'Ecuyer
From: Haiti/Quebec-Canada
Year: 2004African Film Minutes: 88
Language: French with English sub.
Genre: Drama

Against the backdrop of poverty, fear and the brutal dictatorship of Haiti in 1971, On the Verge of a Fever (Le goût des jeunes filles) is about Fanfan, a 15-year-old boy who just wants to experience life for himself with his streetwise friend Gégé. Having lived a somewhat sheltered life with his protective mother, Fanfan experiences a bizarrely terrifying incident involving a Tonton-Macoute. As a result, he decides to hide out at his beautiful neighbor's house for the weekend. There, he is trapped between his fear of being caught and the fulfilling of his deepest fantasy. Based on the Book Le Gout des Jeunes Filles by famous Haitian novelist Dany Laferriere.

"Le goût des jeunes filles is most certainly one of tastiest coming-to-self films to radiate the big screen in recent years.  The market list for its successful recipe includes Dany Laferrière's poetry-laden story, Jean-Pierre St-Louis's mirror-savvy camera, the energetic music tracks from Ned Bouhalassa and Luck Mervil, and a pair of engaging fifteen-going-on-thirty actors (Lansana Kourouma & Uly Darly)—all under the insightful eye of master chef John L'Écuyer, who has the great sense to let rather than force this thoughtful production seep into our consciousness. ." -S. James Wegg, FILMTHREAT

"The film's literary roots are evident, as Laferrière's words come through voice-over, characters talking directly to the camera and text printed on screen. It's most effective though when it takes a more visual approach, making us feel the warmth of Haiti, the overwhelming colors, the festive music, the beauty of the girls... There's also a darker side to the country, which deals with much poverty and violence. Duvalier's gone, but he's immediately replaced by his son, who proves as cruel and repressive, and there are plenty of petty tyrants who are more than willing to do Bébé Doc's dirty work.” - Kevin N. Laforest, MONTREAL FILM JOURNAL

DVD sale: $195

African Films