David-Pierre Fila and Philippe Lecoeur
LA MAISON NEUVE, 2005
LES SUCRIERS DE COLLEVILLE, 2003
LES BÊTES, 2002
LES TERRIENS, 2000
Here we are, in Dr Moussa Maman’s surgery. The room is basic, the space cramped: a few chairs, a plain rug on the floor to be used as a bed. The characters: Dr Maman, his assistant and a few patients who come by, including a witch doctor. With the exception of a few outdoors shots, later, towards the end, this will be the only set. Ariane Doublet, whose filmography is well known, chose this restricted setting in order to privilege speech within the process of the medical examination. If Healing means to listen and respond to the pain of the body, pain first mute, so to speak, then here is this Healing exercise, variable, flexible, that does not comply with any law other than the one the other brings within his flesh This healing is what Fevers instantiates and re-presents.
Without the shadow of a doubt, the scene is Africa: from the language to be heard, the people to be seen, and even the few landscapes that can be glimpsed at, punctuating, as they are, the sequences where patients are involved. But this is not about ethnology, or maybe it’s dealing with a legacy of some of Jean Rouch’s generous fables. The point here is to explore secrets and Dr Maman is an expert at tracking them down and answering them back. This doctor moves freely, without batting an eyelid, from European medicine to ancestral magical recipes; he is the witch doctor’ ally and a witch doctor himself. He diagnoses a maligned fever with the same science as pain a love stays blocked in the throat. A physician and a psychoanalyst, he puts the fever down.