Fighting Chance (1990)
Fighting Chance is a continuation of Richard Fung's previous documentary Orientations, which told of the personal challenges and struggles of Asian-Canadian gays and lesbians to express their sexual identities. When Fung produced Orientations in 1984, AIDS had not yet fully manifested itself (particularly among Asians), but by 1991, as we see in Fighting Chance, the epidemic has become threateningly widespread. Individuals and couples candidly discuss the various hurdles and challenges that AIDS has presented. Those affected must confront families, friends, the community, and most important, their inner selves.
This video focuses on the experiences of four Asian men. Each person is in a different stage of HIV infection and each has significant experiences with various issues surrounding the disease. The interviews focus on the personal, the therapeutic, the medical and the political with HIV as a constant reference throughout.
“Richard was determined to make an AIDS-related video but AIDS was too vast a subject to film. So he decided to zero in on the lives of four Asian men, each at a different stage of HIV infection. Each individual offers a personalized account of his uphill battle within an AIDS-phobic society. One man remarks that prior to testing HIV positive, his stereotype of a PWA was of a wild, bar-hopping white New Yorker. He suggests that many gay Asians have internalized de-sexualized image of themselves from mainstream cinema and popular culture and that this has posed a serious obstacle to AIDS awareness. Another man discusses the criminalization of PWAs through the American immigration process. All the subjects speak with remarkable courage and candour and offer compelling and intelligent observations about their struggles. (It bears mentioning that Richard is neither seen nor heard on this tape, perhaps in a conscious effort to allow his subjects greater latitude.) The video ends with a practical discussion on AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment options. Fighting Chance is a coda to the more celebratory video, Orientations which, while shot a mere six years before, contained no reference to AIDS. The distance between the two feels colossal.“ (Kyo Maclear)