I often feel that the best political documentaries are the ones that make you want to throw your laptop against the wall in disgust (if that is your chosen method of viewing). The ones that you bore all of your friends as you talk about it for weeks, recollecting the injustices acutely as your heartbeat rises dangerously… these are the films that given enough attention have the potential to change the world for the better.
The latest example of this is Dylan Mohan Grey’s Fire In The Blood, a perfect companion piece with David France’s How To Survive A Plague. France’s film was a narrative made of archive footage filmed from the early AIDS activists in New York as they tried to change the law surrounding AZT, the controversial toxic medicine for the virus. After 15 years of campaigning, with many deaths and horrors, a cocktail of anti-retro virals were made available at an enormous price that managed to suppress some of the symptoms of the disease.
Grey’s film picks up the story after the medicine is widely available at a price in the Western world, and looks at how the drugs were suppressed in Africa and the poorer Eastern world. The very same people who were protesting for the drugs in America were lobbying to prevent Africans from taking the same drugs incase they ‘misused’ them, leading to a mutated virus re-infecting the healthier Western AIDS victims.