” Thing With No Name”, a feature-length documentary, provides an unprecedented, intimate glimpse into the traditional life of a rapidly changing culture. Set in Okhahlamba, South Africa, a stunning, mountainous Zulu area and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the story follows Danisile and Ntombeleni, two women with full-blown AIDS as they attempt to access recently introduced antiretroviral (ARV) treatment through the public sector.
Danisile responds well to the medications, with the support of her family and her volunteer nurse. Ntombeleni does not respond as positively, experiencing the delirium and difficult side effects that are a strong source of controversy within the Zulu culture. The universal aspects of motherhood and the struggle to survive are explored through the women’s’ lives: Danisile’s strained relationship with her teenage daughter, who secretly fears becoming one of South Africa’s 1.2 million AIDS orphans, and the traditional Zulu ceremonies that Ntombeleni’s family holds to combat her illness in their own way.
Illustrating the bittersweet reality of the situation, through both the miracle of survival and the tragedy of falling victim to an overwhelmed medical system, Thing With No Name reveals the private and public obstacles that have led to an out of control epidemic.
Post-screening discussion with Director Sarah Friedland