by David WOJNAROWICZ
1986-1989 / Super 8mm / color / sound / 1S / 4' 18
Echoing themes explored throughout David Wojnarowicz's art and writing, FIRE IN MY BELLY is a visceral meditation on cultural and individual identity, spirituality, and belief systems. On a trip to Mexico City with Tommy Turner to scout Day of the Dead imagery, Wojnarowicz shot 25 rolls of super-8 film, documenting scenes that embodied the violence of city life. A central image is that of a child exploited as a fire-breathing street performer, which resonates in the title of the film and Wojnarowicz's own experience hustling on the streets at a young age. He later staged scenes in his New York City apartment to combine with this footage, collecting dreamlike images to illustrate thematic sections he planned for the film's structure, outlined in a cutting script. Among these images is a dancing, gun-wielding marionette, coins dropping into a plate of blood, vibrantly colored loteria cards, and the now iconic self-portrait of the artist with his lips sewn shut.
FIRE IN MY BELLY was never completed. This 4-minute version was edited by David Wojnarowicz from footage of his unfinished film for Rosa von Praunheim's documentary Silence = Death (1989) and its soundtrack features a passage from Diamanda Galás' song This Is The Law of The Plague.