Thursday, 21 March 2013


How do you get people to care? Publish an article and only a select few will read it. Make a TV documentary and people will change the channel. Make a film, and who’s actually going to pay money to leave their home for the privilege of watching something hopelessly depressing? Because Fire in the Blood’s story is not one to provoke thought or inspire argument. It’s the truth. It’s the past and it’s the present. It’s also the future. And millions of white people can so easily turn a blind eye to the worldwide struggle against AIDS and the struggle to provide affordable access to medicine for those most in need. They’d turn a blind eye to this film too, if millions of white people could even be convinced to watch it. Fire in the Blood aims straight down the middle, at big pharma, and bypasses so much as a suggestion that there are any shades of grey to this story – the cold fact is that this epidemic remains at crisis point, and the temerity of those who so persistently and cruelly restrict the cheap distribution of ARVs is despicable. It takes some time for the word ‘racist’ to be uttered in the film; it’ll take far less time for it to spring into your mind. As a work of cinema, this film is disappointingly amateurish and shabby, to the extent that you end up wishing that the filmmakers had stripped all the extraneous cinematic details (as scarce as they are) away and told the story as straight as possible. When it sinks in deepest, after all, the intended effect is achieved. But Fire in the Blood is not particularly about advancing the art of the documentary. Rather, it’s about raising awareness, and forcing people into action – alas, as such, it’ll likely be little more effective than any similar documentary, if at all. Maybe more people might care if they had published an article, or made a TV documentary. Or maybe not. Fire in the Blood ends on a glum note because that’s where we are at present, and it’s where we’ll be in the future too.