Collective (2019, Alexander Nanau)

Straightforward doc, named after the rock club that caught fire during a show, killing 20-some people (including most of the band), leading to massive public protests and a change of government. After 30-some more concertgoers died horribly from bacteria due to lack of care in local hospitals – a real-life Death of Mr. Lazarescu – Nanau followed the story through a reporter for a sports magazine, who does his own investigation, enraged by the corruption he uncovers: the hospitals all used disinfectants that had been diluted unto uselessness. The incoming health minister says he’ll operate with transparency, and he does, to the point of allowing the crew to follow him around. So we follow him for most of the second half of the film, also checking in regularly with a survivor of the fire, whose hands were badly injured. She does fashion shoots, gets robotic hands, and stays frustratingly apolitical. The post-film Q&A was interesting – this was early March, and parallels to more immediate government-botched health crises were becoming apparent. Opener Eli Fola played solo sax , but apparently there was a luggage snafu, he arrived sans equipment, and sax isn’t even his primary instrument… very good improv.

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