Collective (2019) Documentary Review: Deeply impactful, highly relevant


‘Fuck all your wicked corruption
It’s been there since our inception, but we couldn’t see
All the times we’ve felt so hollow
As our hopes were hanged in gallows
All this time we’ve been locked away
And there was nothing left to say
Until today’

Goodbye to Gravity – a heavy metal band – performs this song at a concert in what seems like a clip recorded on a phone. Given the genre, the song is more a roaring cry. Fittingly, the end of the high octane performance is met with a fireworks display. As the vocalist is acknowledging the applause, he notices that a spark from the firework has lit the sound proof ceiling of the nightclub named Colectiv that they are performing in. “That’s not part of our performance”, he quips. Wit then gives way to fear as he asks if there is a fire extinguisher around. He receives no response. Flames start erupting from the ceiling. Chaos and cries of fear engulf the arena. The handheld device shakes violently, screams and wails can be heard, silhouettes are barely discernable in the blaze of the fire. And then suddenly the screen goes blank.

The name of the song performed – The Day We Die.

On 30th October, 2015 a nightclub in Bucharest in Romania caught fire during the performance of the above mentioned band. The vocalist (Andrei Găluț) survived the fire with serious injuries, but all the other 4 members of his band didn’t. 60 more of the young Romanians present in the audience also met with the same fate. Oscar nominated documentary Collective investigates this horrific event and uncovers a far more tragic fact – complications arising due to bacterial infections of the burns (sometimes as low as 10-20%) killed more people than on the day of the fire. The broken healthcare system, corrupt from top to bottom, was entirely to be blamed. Sounds familiar?

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