Star Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑
Directed by: #JonKasbe
Short Film Review by: Thomas Jay
Lagos, Nigeria. Joseph and Deborah’s lives intersect when the latter‘s mortality hangs in the balance amid the blood crisis seen in Nigeria and the developing world.
Backed by Google in support of Lifebank a body designed to plug gaps in infrastructures, Jon Kasbe’s third film and his second Short is a heart pounding, extremely tense affair.
A short documentary, the genre/format appears to be where Kasbe specialises, the 17 minute short cross cuts between the dedicated worker and heavily pregnant woman and creates a short, fast-burning fuse that would make most feature length outings blush. Joseph, the titular Blood Rider is beyond a dedicated worker, having cut away pretty much every other aspect of his life to focus solely on his role as a dispatcher, with the intent of going ‘as fast as possible’. As for Deborah, a lesser film would’ve laid it on thick with a prolonged gaze into her traumatic past and her prior pregnancy complications but this film deals with such matter with an incredible sensitivity and such a background only piles onto that pressure cooker atmosphere and Joseph’s journey is made all the more crucial when he sets off.
Shot stunningly given the logistical complications the crews had to face, up against crippling traffic jams and at constant risk of dangerous drivers, on top of whatever else the road can, and will throw at you, the small crew spread their resources amongst a number of dispatchers and women late in their pregnancy cycles. With the stars aligning so Joseph and Deborah Would intersect, the documentary manages to show, in incredible coverage, the little details. Deborah’s panic is palpable and just, with her fears of losing another child whereas Joseph is a man, racked with guilt over his previous shortcomings, having missed the window before by a matter of minutes. The work these dispatchers do both under normal circumstances and the context of this pandemic is crucial, and Lifebank deserve both the attention this film will give them as well as funding.
With the world being thrown a million different complications right now and worthy causes being sprung to attention left, right and centre, Blood Rider is something I’d class as essential viewing, a truly fascinating piece of work. Once more available on the We Are One Film Festival YouTube channel with a complimenting Q&A with Director Jon Kasbe and Lifebank Nigeria CEO Temi Giwa-Tuboson, give this campaign some awareness and if possible funding, though I share that sentiment towards the #BLM movement as well. In time the world will no doubt become a better place and there’s ways of helping be that watching a film, signing petitions or educating yourself/others, take some action.
(Originally written on ’Blackout Tuesday‘, posted Wednesday, June 3rd)
Reviewed by: #TomJay