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CARRIER, THE (director: Maggie Betts; cinematographer: Kathryn Westergaard; editors: Flavia De Souza/Geeta Gandbhir; music: Daniel Miller/David Della Santa; cast: Mutinta Mweemba; Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ben Selkow; Tent Full of Birds; 2010-USA/Zambia)

“Inspirational documentary.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Maggie Betts is a first-time filmmaker. Her bio on IMDB says she’s a native New Yorker and longtime advocate for the rights of HIV positive women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. She has spent the past five years traveling throughout the continent as a volunteer and philanthropist for various United Nations organizations.

The inspirational documentary tells the human interest story ofthe 28-year-old Mutinta Mweemba, a native of Zambia, living as a farmer in the rural village of Keemba. She is the second wife in a polygamous marriage of three. Her strong husband Abarcon, whom she married when she was 16, wants a large family. Mutinta has two children and is pregnant, and says “I love being called a Mother.” The problem is that her philanderer husband is HIV positive. She will sadly find out from a lab test that so is she and the first wife, who will soon die. There is no proof offered how she contacted AIDS, but all indications it was through her hubby. Her aim now is to protect her pregnant baby, and she enrolls in the local clinic where she’s given medication and instruction to prevent her daughter from being HIV positive. Her struggle with her selfish husband and his aloof third wife, and how she retreats with her children to live with dignity is a heart-felt story of a brave woman doing her best to cope with a bad situation. It’s probably too bleak a story for a wide audience, but the heroine is a person the viewer can be sympathetic too and root for things to get better when it’s learned her youngest, when an infant, tested HIV negative.

REVIEWED ON 12/10/2011 GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”