EN 429 Studies in Performance Rotating Header Image

And The Band Played On

And The Band Played On starts off with this image of a deserted African village. Where two white men appear who seem to be puzzled by the abandoned village just as the viewers are. The next person we are introduced to is this young boy who shows them to the doctor they were looking for. We then not only find the doctor but other deceased villagers who lay in a circle. A voice is heard and the doctors go to investigate. He finds a dying women laying on the floor. He grabs her bloody hand in which he struggles to let go when she is in her last moments of death. When she is finally dead, he looks at his hand and he is soon hunted by this image throughout the movie. The viewer is then informed that the plague that has taken the people of the village out is ebola. Luckily, it is contained before reaching outside of Africa. Throughout the film, ebola is used to foreshadow what is soon to come.

When AIDS break out in the gay community, the CDC is confused to what it is and how it is caught. They think of it as a gay cancer in which only gay men can catch. When comparing it to ebola, the disease is not biased against any gender. As the disease begins to spread throughout the gay community, it starts to affect the larger population. The CDC starts to figure out that this disease is sexually transmitted and can also be transmitted through blood. Even though the CDC is aware that this is a possible way of contracting AIDS, finding the proof to back up their claims is a challenge.

With the breakout of AIDS/HIV, a stigma comes along with contracting the deadly disease that is exhibited throughout the film. According to Stigma, HIV and AIDS: an exploration and elaboration of a stigma trajectory, Individuals are devalued less because they display attributes that violate accepted standards than because some communities have chosen to call certain attributes deviant (Alonzo, Reynolds 304). In the film, one of the main concerns of the gay community was the stigma that could come along with the disease. The gay community then expressed that they were already disliked and did not want to be further blamed for something they had no control over.

As the film progresses, it is soon show that this is not only a gay disease. Those who go in for a normal procedure that deal with blood transfusions come out with HIV/AIDS. This alarms the people of the CDC and they try to attempt to get the red cross and other blood donation organizations to test the blood but due to the cost they decline. The number of fatalities begins to increase before they begin to take the CDC serious. Without the help of the organizations, HIVAIDS was not able to be contained and taken care of solely such as ebola was.

With how HIV/AIDS is dealt with now and how it was dealt with in the eighties when it first occurred is a great difference. In the film, they portray the epidemic as something that was not taken serious among doctors and big corporations. As the disease grew, more people were being affected and the people who needed to take it serious were avoiding the issue. Finally as the disease arose and people became aware of what was happening, the people in charge made it to where no one would catch the disease by transfusion. They also made the media aware that this was a disease that not only gay men were able to catch but anyone engaging in sexual activities or swapping dirty needles. With making people aware to this disease and stopping blood transfusions with infected blood, no one person can be blame for not being aware. As being portrayed on film, the epidemic ends with no cure but a sense of awareness. People know have an awareness that a deadly disease is occurring and no one is safe.

Work Cited:

And the Band Played on. Dir. Roger Spottiswoode. 1993. DVD.

Alonzo, Angelo A., and Nancy R. Reynolds. “Stigma, HIV and AIDS: An Exploration and Elaboration of a Stigma Trajectory.” Social Science & Medicine 41.3 (1995): 303-15. Web.

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