Special Screening: THE CARRIER

Coming to NYC’s Maysles Cinema as part of the “No More Stigma” film series this Thursday, June 21: THE CARRIER

Maggie Betts’ portrait of a Zambian woman’s struggle with HIV made its world premiere at Tribeca last year. Since then, the film has screened at numerous events, including Big Sky, Documentary Edge, One World, and Lone Star, where I was on the jury that awarded it Best Documentary.

Set in a rural village, Betts’ beautifully lensed film focuses on a single family led by farmer Abarcon and his three wives, Brenda, Matildah, and Mutinta, and their many children. The AIDS pandemic plaguing the continent is soon felt – Abarcon contracts the virus, passing it on to his wives, two of whom are pregnant. As they try to come to grips with what is still very much a death sentence for many due to lack of access to treatment, Mutinta emerges as the focal point of the film, driven to save her unborn child from the fate of her parents. Betts achieves a remarkable intimacy with her characters despite the tension and drama that their HIV status engenders. They speak with surprising candor, demonstrating the strength and dignity that is often brought out in individuals when they’re tested by almost overwhelming forces. If the film significantly falters in one area, it’s in the melodramatic score, which at times casts a shadow on the narrative, tipping the family drama into the overwrought.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Recommendations

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