Blood; don’t bank on it

29th December 2014 by Judith Harvey

Blood; don’t bank on it

How about a night out at the movies to watch a black-and-white documentary about a mobile blood collection unit in rural Russia? Well, Mamma Mia it isn’t, but Blood turned out to be fascinating.

The team cram themselves and their clobber into a beaten-up minivan and drive through wintry forests, past dilapidated wooden houses into poverty-stricken towns. They are a jolly crowd. They visit these communities several times a year and they joke with the regular donors. At supper, the vodka and the banter flow around the crowded table, and the assignations follow. Something that lost a member of the team her job. Russian authorities do not like unvarnished truth being shown on-screen.

Much is familiar: dusty halls, anxious donors queuing at the registration table, the occasional struggle to get into a vein, the instructions to clench the fist. There are cups of tea, too, but just for the team.

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