Subscribe to Candid Magazine

Review: Fire in the Blood

February 21, 2013

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


As one magazine quotes on the poster of this powerful documentary, it is ‘a film to provoke fury’… and that it is. Officially selected at this year’s Sundance Festival, Fire in the Blood gives a detailed account of the wide-spread AIDS epidemic, both in developing and Western countries and how millions of people die needlessly in the former at the hands of greedy, mercenary pharmaceutical companies that place heavy restrictions on access to vital medicines.

Two thirds of the world’s population living with AIDS can be found in developing countries such as Africa and India and yet to many this is just a fact of life – even normality. If a person suffers from the disease in the West then it does not mean an automatic death sentence as it may have done when it first appeared some forty years ago. Why is it that for those in poorer circumstances, been inflicted with AIDS, as well as been inevitable means you have absolutely no hope? This great distinction is highlighted in this documentary by many powerful speakers, including former president Bill Clinton that have argued and campaigned against the repugnant way civilians in the Third World are treated.

I’m sure a lot of us are guilty of turning a blind eye when an advert perhaps comes onto the TV, informing us that innocent people are dying every day – deaths that can be prevented with the right support from the rest of the world. Fire in the Blood shows that everything is not black and white and that drastic measures have been taken in the past. The Patents Act 1970 forced hefty drugs prices to be lowered which subsequently brought life expectancy up and representatives of the Third World made three proposals at a European Commission meeting in 2000 to once again bring down the cost of medication, to provide the relevant technology and know-how to developing countries in order for them to create their own treatments and to make free, another drug to halt infection from mother to child. This however was rejected until sometime later when treatment was made widely available post 9/11 and an outbreak of Anthrax in the US made medication more readily available on a wider scale…


There is a lot of information in this fascinating, insightful, yet painful documentary. I think it would take me more than one sitting to really absorb and understand the vast amount Fire in the Blood involves. It is easy to turn a blind eye but do we ever stop to think why? We are all human beings and we all deserve to be treated equally, yet unceremonious greed and selfishness are constants in our way of life. Pharmaceutical companies have a hell of a lot to answer for but we can have hope that change will happen.

Samuel Sims.

Fire in the Blood is released tomorrow in the UK.