"Doin' My Drugs" | A Film By Tyler Q. Rosen
Review By Susan Hornik
One of the best films to come out of the CPH:DOX* festival is "Doin My Drugs,' The minute you start watching the documentary, you realize you are watching a nightmare from which you cannot awaken. Immensely talented Zambian-born Danish singer/musician, Thomas Muchimba Buttenschøn, who was born HIV-positive in 1985, goes back to his country, to have straight forward, poignant talks with numerous incredibly gifted musicians about the worsening HIV/AIDS crisis.
Your heart goes out to Thomas, as you see he wants to do anything he possibly can to help wipe out the horrific disease in his beloved country. Hearing that he lost his own parents to AIDS at such an early age, seeing the many photos he has of them...is simply gut wrenching.
All of Thomas' passionate songs are beautifully written, and speak to the endless torment he has sustained through the years.
Thomas Muchimba Buttenschøn
Still, there are moments of hope, as Thomas is so very tender with his two children, who thankfully, do not have the disease, nor does his wife. "There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of death every day," he says. Yet seeing him happy with his family, you know their sweet faces give him the frequent encouragement he needs.
One of the highlights of the documentary is that you get to listen to the beautiful melodies and socially conscious songs these musicians perform. It so soothes the soul, even though you are hearing such sad words being spoken.
One of the most jarring parts of the documentary is hearing about how bad the AIDS epidemic is in Zambia. It is particularly alarming when "Doin' My Drugs" talks statistics: Zambia is a country of 17 million people, where more than 1.2 million are HIV-positive or have the disease. Judging from what's happening, it looks like things are getting worse.
It's shocking when Thomas visits a church and in an interview, the priest puts the blame on women as the reason why their husbands go out and cheat, thus bringing the disease into the family, saying that "women should have more sex with their husbands" and must "keep the house clean."
Zambian Children Attend An MMF Testing Event
Director Tyler Q. Rosen is an expert filmmaker, allowing the stories of each person being interviewed to be told eloquently and with dignity, To see the shame, guilt and anguish they feel; the director captures it all onscreen. Their frank discussions about what it's going to take to eradicate the disease are tough to experience. And yet I couldn't help but notice how relieved they are to talk about it...AIDS is a silent killer in Zambia.
Keep the tissues close when watching this compelling documentary, filled with sadness, love and hope.
To learn more, visit: Doin My Drugs | #thefilm