Directed by Hicham Ayouch, 2014, 90 min, France/Morocco/UAE/Qatar, French, drama, English subt.
Fevers, winner of FESPACO - Africa's largest film festival - 2015 grand prize, the Golden Stallion of Yennenga, is a French version of We Need to Talk About Kevin about a disturbed young man raised on foster care who enters his father's Muslim household in the suburbs of Paris and becomes a major source of disruption in the family.
At only thirteen, Benjamin is a little soldier at war with life, adults and with himself. Since the age of five, the troubled kid goes back and forth into foster homes. But when his mother goes to jail and reveals to Benjamin the existence of his father, the young boy is determined to get out of foster care. So when the social worker gives him the choice, he decides to go live at his unknown father's place.
Director's creative statement
Fevers could have been, filmed in any city, but I chose to shoot this story in a working class neighborhood. In terms of writing and directing the movie breaks stereotypes, it has a more modern and contrasted vision of that world.
In the suburbs, everything is intense, extreme and violence prevails as well, however there's also poetry and a great joy for life and as a storyteller that's what inspired me about it. The people living in this neighborhood are funny, easy to become attached to and especially human. That humanity is a beautiful cinematographic tool, because it holds emotions and, as a director, I only strive towards emotions.
The work on the picture has been carried out in the same poetical approach, I gave the image a soft grain noise in order for it to work in contrast with the story's toughness; I built a rather polished image with very well arranged shots so as to transport the audience to another dimension. Graphically. I worked a lot on the buildings architecture and on the lines in order to enhance their geometry. The idea was to make the tall buildings seem like living beings following the rhythm of the characters pulses.
The story is naturalistic, but I decided to go with very firm viewpoints in terms of light with a lot of contrasts and vivid colors. Work on the set decoration was carried out in that same optic, some walls were painted in green, blue or red, this way every character had a color that attunes to him. Lastly, the work on sound and music was also based on that same need for contrast, with the aim, here again, to transport the viewer to another universe.