(On the Frontlines of AIDS)
fatal sexual culture spreads AIDS' - The Observer
documentary that gets deep into the heart of the issue… A moving
documentary and a hugely important piece of journalism"
Anushka Asthana, Observer, 26.06.05
"If you needed reminding that television can sometimes rub our noses in
the dirt for reasons other than titillation then you only hand to watch
Dispatches: Living with AIDS, a stunning report by the film-maker,
Tom Sutcliffe, Independent, 28.06.05
"Faced with the same material, many documentaries might have wanted to
grab us by the lapels and shout into our faces. Here the stories we
heard and Samura’s humane reactions to them were allowed to speak for
themselves… Samura’s resolute refusal to offer false hope did sometimes
make the programme difficult to watch. For the same reason, though, it
always felt powerfully and uncomfortably true."
James Walton, Telegraph, 28.06.05
"Few films paint such a vivid, evocative and stripped-bare portrait as
this film. It is so graphic, you can almost smell the place… and it
stinks… Thoughtful and intelligent"
Terry Ramsey, Evening Standard, 27.06.05
In the third of the 'Living with' series, Sorious Samura works as an
orderly in hospital in Zambia , where the majority of the patients are
HIV positive. Confronted daily with death, he describes his workplace
as being like a frontline in a war zone. The staff work under
horrendous conditions where protective gloves are a luxury and shrouds
for the dead are stained with the blood of previous corpses.
In this film, Samura exposes the untold story of AIDS – how poverty and
the complex nature of African culture and sexuality are hampering
efforts to eradicate this horrifying disease.
He meets characters like Joshua and Lawson who continue to practice
unprotected sex despite their HIV positive status, and Precious and
Nancy, AIDS orphans who fend for themselves in a world where sex "flesh
to flesh" pays well and offers an easy short term solution.
Samura also meets heroines such as Bitonda, who at sixteen is in sole
charge of her dying 14 year old brother, an AIDS orphaned cousin as
well as her own child.
After one month, Samura is left with the realisation that for the war
against HIV in Africa to be won, poverty, ignorance and African sexual
attitudes have to be tackled head on.