Justino lives alone with his daughter Vanessa on the edge of Manaus and works as a security guard on the city’s container port. Shortly after Vanessa is accepted to medical school in Brasilia, Justino comes down with a mysterious ailment; Vanessa diagnoses a fever, but Justino tells her it’s something else, something she wouldn’t understand. For Justino is a man suffering from living in-between, on the border of the city and the rainforest, torn between his job in the metropolis of the Amazon and the call of his indigenous roots in a village deep in the forest’s interior. Now that his daughter is moving away, the necessity for him to stay in the city has waned, but his brother tells him life back home has also changed.
The power and beauty of Maya Da-Rin’s first fiction feature lies in the understated but hypnotic manner in which the camera accompanies Justino, following the rhythms and patterns of his daily life and eventually inviting us to slip into his dreams. This quiet but methodical focus on the details of the everyday, from Justino’s nocturnal commute in a bus that skirts the jungle to his patrols among the towering shipping containers on the port, allows us to develop not only a strong sense of empathy for Justino, but a kind of hyper-awareness that matches his own acute sensitivity as he learns that a strange creature is on the loose and he begins to sense that it is waiting for him in the forest.
And if you’ve ever wondered what the night sounds like on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, this richly textured film is the one for you.