Monday, February 27, 2017
Fire in My Belly
“A Fire In My Belly” by David Wojnarowicz displays images of working class Mexico alongside provocative images of pain, sex, animals, and fire. Themes of marginalization and poverty persist through the video. The people that are so repressed and forgotten within society, are brought to the forefront of David’s video. In fact, they are brought to the forefront in such a way that is inescapable to the viewer. The gruesome animal images create a parallel between the treatment of marginalized populations and the status of vermin and insects. The film feels full of fury and rage, possibly pointing to the hypocrisy of religion’s role in society. The title of the film seems to point at the idea of an internal rage, but is also placed against images of actual fire, burning the globe, a mask, etc. The image of his lips being sewn shut is evocative of a painful, forced, silence. Placed against images of bread being sewn back together, evokes a sense of bodily objectification, but could also be a reference to the body of Christ. The controversial image of the crucifix on the ground, covered with ants, to me signifies the forgetting of religion and morality. The anguish felt by those poor and marginalized people is in part exacerbated by this morality left behind.
It is interesting that the film was never completed, and personally feels indicative of the everlasting anguish felt by these people. However, it is important to note that while these images are full of pain and create a powerful mesmerizing effect on the viewer, what is even more powerful is when they are played alongside the chants of HIV/AIDS protests. This signifies the strength and unity that comes from such pain and marginalization, and the endurance to keep fighting against adversity. The determination, or the fire in his belly, is stronger and louder than any attempt to force a painful silence. The fires and gruesome images spark a different kind of fire, the fire of determination to create/demand change.