Nazma's EN429 Blog

It is always surprising to see the differences between a novel and its film. In Warm Bodies the film, there are differences from the original book. In some instances, the differences helped convey the meaning better. However some changes in the film could have benefited from the cut scenes. One big difference I saw in the film is that R does not have a wife or any kids. In the novel, when R is married to the female zombie and given two zombie children, he contemplates on what a father should be. “Julie has been attempting to teach me for a few days now, and today I just felt some obscure urge to father. To pass on knowledge.” (Marion p. 50). In the film, during the scene where Julie tries to teach R how to drive, the kids are not in the back seat. They are standing on the side watching but even then, there is no mention that they are R’s kids. The whole notion of him having a family is non-existent in the film. Also during the driving scene, R and Julie do not have the conversation about Julie being cheated on after seeing R’s wife walking with another male zombie (Marion p. 51). This scene I felt allowed R and Julie to have an inner bond. R saw the cuts on Julie’s wrists and I feel that made R understand her better and develop a connection. Without that scene, I feel that the perception of Julie is a little lost in the film.

 

A second scene that was not included in the film is Julie’s father, Grigio’s death. In the novel Julie’s father is not at all understanding and stands his grounds. Due to this, at the end he is attacked by a boney and does not fight back. He would rather die than accept that the zombies are changing. When Julie shoots the boney and tells her father to fight back, he simply says no and then falls to his death and shatters into pieces (Marion p. 226). In the film, Grigio finally listens to Julie after shooting R and seeing that he started bleeding. They drive off and Julie and her father hold hands as they smile at each other. This change of scene in the film adds to the message that love can cure all but takes away from the meaning of the novel. In the novel, Grigio’s death results in the Boneys walking away and it is understood that the fight between them is the real plague. Without this scene, the film ends happily ever after with the zombies and humans uniting to kill the Boney’s. I feel that one of the important meanings from the novel was how the Boney’s backed off and that’s when the zombies and humans realized the change. Julie’s father died and there was no happily ever after but more of an understanding and realization of what change they can bring upon.

 

The film carried all of the main points of the novel and overall was a great story. Despite the missing scenes, it was still a film that touched hearts. I saw the film before I read the book and I enjoyed it very much. Watching it now after reading the book, I still enjoyed it but many of the differences stood out for me. I highlighted two big ones I noticed in this reflection but I was also surprised to see R’s outfit. He was dressed like a college student in the film as opposed to a businessman in the novel. I feel like this added to the young adult love element of the film and overall benefitted the movie. In conclusion, both the novel and the film for Warm Bodies are exceptional pieces for seeing a different side of the zombie genre.

 

 

Marion, Isaac. Warm Bodies: A Novel. New York: Atria, 2011. Print.

 

Warm Bodies. Dir. Jonathan Levine. Perf. Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Dave Franco. Key Films ; Cecchi Gori Home Video, 2013. DVD.

§57 · April 6, 2015 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


The unit on mental illness allowed us to follow the lives of two characters that use graphics as a way to cope with their sickness and ultimately benefited from it. Marbles and American Splendor are both graphic memoirs that follow the life of the author who has a mental illness. Ellen Forney has bipolar depression and Harvey Pekar has depression. It was surprising to see so many similarities between the two. During her depression stage, Forney talks about how miserable her life is and how low she felt. “All I really wanted to do was disappear,” (Forney p.81). Harvey Pekar had similar feelings as Forney. He constantly put himself down. One scene was when Joyce left for a few weeks and Harvey went back into a slum. He could barely get out of bed just like how Forney could not get off the couch. These moments of low allow for mental illness to seem like a curse.

 

In Amy Gall’s article, “Ellen Forney: Losing’s Ones Marbles”, she reviews Forney’s question of whether or not her bipolar disorder is a gift or a curse. Forney comes back to this question at the end of the graphic novel and says that it is both a gift and a curse. Bipolar disorder makes her who she is and is an important part of how she thinks creatively (Forney p. 226). This question can be applied to American Splendor as well. Was Harvey Pekar’s mental illness a gift or a curse? I think that it was a more of a gift for him than a curse. Because of depression he started writing he comics and through his comics he found his wife and adopted daughter. Both Harvey and Ellen found a good place in life though their graphic memoirs.

 

Being able to follow Pekar and Forney’s story, the audience can really get a glimpse of what was going though in their heads. The illustrations provided a stronger visual that one would not get just by simply reading a novel. The scenes where Forney is talking with her therapist, her facial expressions help the audience see her mood. We see her getting slightly uplifted when her therapist adds Celexa to her meds and mentions that it’s an antidepressant (Forney p. 112). That visual definitely helped me see an instant change in her.

 

Forney and Pekar do not overcome their illness, they simply learn to live with it and make the best of it. Forney understands this at the end of her graphic novel when she reveals that it is both a gift and a curse. At the end of American Splendor, Pekar, Daniele, and Joyce are at the ice rink and he says, “The greatest thing that came out of my illness was Daniele,” (American Splendor). It is safe to say that both main characters found a positive place at the end of the novel and the film due to their illness.

 

 

American Splendor. Dir. Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Perf. Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, Harvey Pekar, Joyce Brabner. New Line Cinema, 2003. DVD.

 

Forney, Ellen. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir. New York: Gotham, 2012. Print.

§55 · March 28, 2015 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


The portrayal of cancer amongst young adult films is not as stigmatized as it is with other works that include cancer. I will compare and highlight the differences between the two films, The Fault in Our Stars and A Walk to Remember. Both main characters have opposite socially constructed selves, which allow them to approach cancer in different ways. I will analyze how each of their mindsets towards cancer affects the people around them differently. Hazel in FIOS starts off with a negative outlook on life due to her cancer and later changes because of the influence Gus has on her. Jamie’s positive attitude in A Walk to Remember allows her to inspire Landon. Although these two films have opposite story lines, they have moments of similarity which I will also explore more in-depth.

 

 

 

§53 · March 28, 2015 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


I have seen the movie Warm Bodies before so it was interesting for me to read the novel and experience the differences. The novel does a great job at combining humor and love along with zombies. Most works about zombies are typically filled with thrill and violence. Warm Bodies is a nice change from that. R expresses himself as not an ordinary zombie. We can see this when he saves Julie from the other zombies. He doesn’t hurt her and develops a liking for her, which is unusual for zombies because they have no feelings or compassion. Even Julie eventually finds it hard to believe that he is a zombie. “Sometimes I barely believe you’re a zombie. Sometimes I think you’re just wearing stage makeup, because when you smile… it’s pretty hard to believe,” (Marion p.72). Julie says this after a few days of staying with R.

 

Warm Bodies stand out from other zombie works because it is not just a war between the living and the dead. Boneys is a group of dead who have only striped down to their bones and can be killed by removing their brain. In Warm Bodies, the dead not only fight with the living, but they also fight with Boneys who are also dead. It is unusual to see the zombies joining sides with the humans like they did at the end of the novel. This happens because the zombies are changing due to R and how he feels for Julie. Something different that this novel introduces about zombies was the fact that they could see memories and have feelings of whoever’s brain they ate. R describes the feeling as, “Not ‘good,’ exactly, not ‘happy,’ certainly not ‘alive,’ but… a little less dead” (Marion p. 7). This element definitely allowed the novel to have the love and humor that it enclosed.

 

“Zombies are pure desiring machines- they are creatures composed entirely of excess desire” (Boluk and Lenz p. 136) Boluk and Lenz discuss how zombies do not have a physical need to eat since they are dead. Eating flesh is merely a desire for them to satisfy. Perhaps R feels this sort of desire. A zombie does not require compassion, love, or companionship. However, R is mesmerized with Julie and grows more and more quaint with her. Maybe this is R’s desire as opposed to the other zombies desire for eating flesh. But once the other zombies see him with Julie, they want to change as well. When a human sees another human with something quite nice and extraordinary, they may start desiring what the other person has. Could this explain what was happening to the other zombies when they saw R? They too desired to be cured when they started seeing it happen to one of their own.

 

 

 

Boluk, Stephanie and Wylie Lenz. “Infection, Media, and Capitalism” 10.2 The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies (Fall/Winter 2010): 126-64.

 

Marion, Isaac. Warm Bodies. New York: Atria, 2011. Print.

 

§51 · March 21, 2015 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


The film, American Splendor, takes us into the life of Harvey Pekar. I was surprised to see his negative personality at the beginning of the film. I could tell immediately from the trick or treating scene at the beginning of the film that he was not the average person and that he was definitely unique. I saw compassion in him when he tried to stop his wife from leaving. Even though he could not speak at the moment, his gestures and facial expression were genuine. Incorporating graphics into the film allowed me to view Harvey in various perspectives. From the graphics that were used in the film, it made it look like Harvey was a grumpy man dissatisfied with life. Being able to see the real Harvey Pekar and the character in the film gave me a different view of him. The real one and the character seemed more open to humanity than the one in the comics. However, the graphics help us get into the mind of Harvey. Even though I could not see how he felt directly towards something, seeing the graphic made me understand his outlook. One specific scene was when he was at the diner with the waitress in front of him. I could tell by his character that he was probably lonely but that graphic reference allowed me to see what he was thinking. “I’m desperately lonely and horny as hell” (American Splendor 24:46). The moments of graphic novelization allow us to get inside of his mind like we would if we were reading the actual comic book.

 

“Everywhere we show it, it seems to really resonate. I don’t know what other word explains what happens with audiences when they see this movie. They totally get Harvey” (Meyer, p.43). Harvey’s character, despite the negativity and grouchiness, is something that people can grow a liking for. I could see him change as his comics expanded. When he got off the plane after his first time at Letterman, he had a smile on his face. He appeared to be content with where he was in life. Although that moment did not last very long before he got angry about the checked baggage, it was still an improvement from where he was in the beginning of the film.

 

This was film was an interesting alternative to reading a straight graphic novel. When I was reading Marbles, it was difficult to envision what each person looked like. All I had to go off was the facial expressions drawn on the characters in the comic and what description Forney gave to them. Having a real person to reference really allows us to understand the character better; well at least I think so. Harvey bettered his life through his comics. It led him to his wife and eventually his adopted daughter. Despite having cancer, he found light at the end of the tunnel as a result of the comics. Similar to his story, Ellen Forney found her stable place due to her comics. Graphic memoirs allowed both of them to better their lives and find a happy place.

 

 

 

American Splendor. Dir. Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Perf. Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, Harvey Pekar, Joyce Brabner. New Line Cinema, 2003. DVD.

 

Meyer, Andrea. “The Strange and Wonderful World of American Splendor” Indpendent Film & Video Monthly (Sep 2003):41-43.

 

 

§49 · March 14, 2015 · Uncategorized · (1 comment) ·


Ellen Forney takes us into her life in her graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & me. She is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and this novel really allows one to see the ups and downs she experiences. The novel begins with her getting her first tattoo; She is bold and brave to get a full back tattoo as her first. That to me shows how courageous she is and how she likes to take on exciting new adventures. Reading through her manic phase in the beginning, it was difficult for me to imagine her being at an extreme low. She was just such an adventurous and thrill-seeking individual that I could not picture her becoming depressed. I was surprised to see how her mentality changed drastically as soon as she ended her manic phase and entered depression. She was like a whole new person and I could not imagine the person in the beginning of the book being the same person who has low self-esteem, energy, and no purpose in life. I personally do not know anyone that has bipolar disorder and reading this novel really allowed me to get a glimpse of what its like struggling with it. It didn’t occur to me that it could be so extreme.

 

The drawings in the novel allow the reader to really get an idea of Ellen. Seeing her facial expressions throughout the book made it easy for me to understand how she was feeling. In the article, Ellen Forney: Losing One’s Marbles by Amy Gall, Ellen is interviewed and she makes numerous points as to why she chose to do a graphic novel. “My passion and my talent is to try to create expressiveness and volume from generally as few lines as I can” (Gall). Ellen gives examples of many famous artists that also are mentally ill or have mental disorders. She gives a lot of information on them in chapter five and I feel that she got a lot more information across with just a few words and images than she would have if she wrote long passages about them. In the list of writers and artist with probable manic-depression illness and major depression (Forney p. 40-41), the readers get so much information in just two pages. In a traditional novel, discussing all of those writers and artists would have taken up a lot more pages and time.

 

In the beginning she refuses to take medications because she feels that it will stabilize her and cause her creativity to diminish. She feels that her manic phase is what helps her bring about her best work. By the end of the novel we see her mindset change. “For me, mania is a dormant volcano, and I’d like it to stay asleep” (Forney p. 232). She mentions the positives of her manias and then moves to the negatives of it and realizes that being more stable is overall better than having to deal with all the negatives of the depression. Ellen revisits the question as to whether bipolar disorder is a blessing or a curse (Forney p. 225) and agrees that it is both. She explains how bipolar disorder makes her who she is and is an important part of how she thinks (Forney p. 226)

 

 

 

Forney, Ellen. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir. New York: Gotham, 2012. Print.

 

Gall, Amy. “Ellen Forney: Losing One’s Marbles.” Lambda Literary (16 Dec. 2012). Web.

 

§46 · February 28, 2015 · Uncategorized · (1 comment) ·


“Despite the changing epidemiology of HIV, most heterosexual adults continue to associate AIDS with homosexuality or bisexuality” (Herek & Capitanio p. 8). This stigma was widely seen in HBO’s Angels in America. It really struck out to me when Roy bluntly told his doctor that homosexuals get AIDS and he insisted that he did not have aids and it was only lung cancer. He did not want to be associated with AIDS because then the public and his peers will know that he is a homosexual. As a powerful and successful lawyer, being identified as a homosexual will hurt his career and image. Another scene when AIDS was associated directly with homosexuality was in part two scene five. Belize approached Louis to meet with him and immediately refereed to Joe as being Roy’s ‘butt buddy’. He insisted that Louis was now infected because he automatically assumed that Joe has HIV since Roy has it. Just because they are both homosexual does not automatically mean that they all sleep with one another just because they were in touch. That’s like assuming that every heterosexual person who is in touch with another heterosexual person all have sexual intercourse. “Sex between two men does not, in itself, carry a risk for AIDS” (Herek & Capitanio p. 7). In the scene where Louis was having sex with a stranger in the park, he said to the stranger to go ahead and infect him after he learned that the condom broke. Even Louis, someone who is homosexual, assumed that the stranger had AIDS simply because he was gay and was having intercourse with him. He had no knowledge of whether or not the stranger was truly infected or not and still assumed that having sex with him will cause himself to contract the disease.

 

I was very surprised to see how two different characters had completely opposite mindsets towards having AIDS. Prior is an AIDS patient who is accepting of his disease and he is comfortable with his skin. He his optimistic and goes through a realization process in which he learns that he wants to live. He does not want to give up and allow AIDS to win and take over his life. Then there is Roy, he is also a AIDS patient but he was in denial with his condition and was not open about what he truly was. In Part two scene six, Roy talks to Ethel and mentions how he is finally going and done with this world. He accepts death unlike Prior who is not ready for death and refuses to give up. In part two scene six, Prior tells the angel in his dreams that he wants to live and insists that she bless him. This the complete opposite from what Roy dreamed about. In Roy’s dream of Ethel, he insists that she sings to him and mentions that he is sorry several times. Although he fools her, Roy shortly after tells Belize that in the next life he wishes to be an octopus. He has no desire to fight and allowed death to win.

 

Angels in America, both the film and the play, does a great job portraying the lives of individuals with AIDS, homosexuals, and how it affects the people around them. Hannah, Joe’s mother is a religious Mormon woman who at first could not even bear to hear that her son was homosexual. She was so shook up that she sold her home in Utah and moved to New York City so she could come help her son fix his relationship with his wife. That same lady later is touched by Prior’s extraordinary attitude and befriends several homosexual men, as seen in the very last scene in Angels in America.

 

 

 

Herek, Gregory M., and John P. Capitanio. “AIDS Stigma and Sexual Prejudice.”American Behavioral Scientist 42 (1999): 1126-143. Web.

 

 

Mike Nichols. Dir. Perf. Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeffrey Wright, Justin Kirk, Ben Shenkman, Patrick Wilson. Angels in America. New York, NY: HBO Video, 2003.

 

§44 · February 21, 2015 · Uncategorized · (1 comment) ·


Reading the play Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches, I saw many transformations amongst the characters. The two conversions that were surprising to me were of Roy and Joe’s. One character converts and keeps his old self a part of him and another I feel converts back to his old self after trying to convert into someone else.

 

Roy Cohn is a successful lawyer and his character is someone who has a lot of ego and pride. He is someone who has worked hard to get to where he is in life and now he is someone who can help other young guys become successful. His ‘I don’t give a f***’ attitude is explained by his success and accomplishments so he feels that he can act and say whatever he wants. He offers Joseph Porter Pitt, a chief clerk at the federal Court of Appeals, a more higher up position in Washington DC. At first this seems like a kind thing for Roy to do and appears as if he genuinely wants to help Joe in his career and life. Joe does not answer immediately to the offer because he has a wife that he needs to consult with first. Despite Joe’s rocky relationship with his wife, he is still a good husband because he cares about her needs and wants her input before moving both their lives to Washington DC.

 

Roy is so hardheaded that he refuses to be brought down. He refuses failure. This is seen in two different scenes. When Roy’s doctor told him that he has AIDS, Roy was not in denial. He knew what he had but he just did not want that revealed to others. He had an image to uphold and that image would get destroyed if people knew that he was a homosexual. Roy clarified that he has liver cancer, not AIDS (Kushner, p.46). A second scene where Roy does not want to accept defeat is when he is at the restaurant with Martin and Joe. He finally reveals why he wants Joe to move to Washington DC. He needs a man on the other side that will clear things for him. He borrowed money from a client and never returned it and now is getting tried for it. He does not want to take responsibility for his actions and refuses to be disbarred (Kushner, p.69). When Roy opens up to Joe during this scene, I realized that his intentions were for his own benefit and not for Joe’s career.

 

I felt that Roy was trying to change when he opened up to Joe about being sick. Although he lied about having AIDS, he still told him that he was ill. His offering Joe a better career offer suggested to me that there was a kindness to him despite his attitude. I realized by the end of the play that he was perhaps just doing whatever it took to get what he really wanted. In Roy’s last scene, he lies to Joe and tells him that he’s not sick at all. That was probably his anger from Joe declining the offer.

 

Joe converts from this family oriented, caring, law abiding husband to someone who finally gives in to his own deep desires. A scene where we see him keep his prior self after his conversion is when he goes home after telling his mom that he is a homosexual. Harper begins to leave and Joe tells her “I still love you very much; I’m not going to leave you” (Kushner, p.76). This shows that despite the fact that acknowledged his true self, he still could not abandon his duties as a husband and good Mormon. He was still willing to give up his desire and fulfill his duties to his wife. What he didn’t realize is that Harper was going though her own conversion. Her hallucinations from the Valium she was taking allowed herself to come in touch with her reality. She at that point had no desire for her husband because he could not satisfy her sexually. As Kruger mentioned in Identity and Conversion in Angels in America, Harper had to decide whether or not she should be a good Mormon woman and just be silent about her husband’s homosexuality or be an articulate woman and make her own decision. She chose to make her own decision and was okay with leaving her husband.

 

 

 

Geis, Deborah R., and Steven F. Kruger. “Identity and Conversion in Angels in America.” Approaching the Millennium: Essays on Angels in America. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan, 1997. Print.

 

Kushner, Tony. Angels in America. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1996. Print.

 

 

§42 · February 14, 2015 · Uncategorized · (1 comment) ·


After wrapping up the unit on cancer, I saw two different sides of what cancer is portrayed to be. In the play, W;t by Margaret Edson, we see cancer as an enlightenment period and the main character, Vivian Bearing, develop into a more compassionate person. Although Vivian was very well known for her research and was looked up to in the field of poetry, that legacy of hers was not enough for her to leave in peace with herself. She realized during the course of her treatment that she might not have been too kind to her students and herself. She put her humanity on hold and chose to live her life by research. That decision of Vivian’s was later regretted by her and she realized the importance of compassion and kindness.

 

In the film, the fault in Our Stars, we see how another individual can make a big impact on the life of another. Hazel, a cancer patient, begins the film with a pessimistic attitude and has no motivation to enjoy her life or make friends. When she meets a boy at her support group, he has such a positive influence on her that she wants to fight her cancer and enjoy her life. He was the optimism she needed to give her life purpose.

 

In Deardorf’s article, she discusses how optimism is beneficial for cancer patients even though it is not scientifically proven to get better. We did not see very much optimism from Vivian. From the beginning of the book it seemed as if she knew that she was going to die and had accepted that. She went ahead with the full dose of treatment for the sake of research. I did not visualize her actually trying to fight her cancer so that she can live her life. In the end we see her finally choosing to give up the research when she agrees to let her heart stop if it were to come to that.

 

Hazel’s character was open to optimism much earlier in the film and I saw a change in her as soon as Gus entered it. There was a point where she pushed Gus away because she felt there was no point since she would die at any point. However, Gus’s persistent attitude allowed Hazel to let her wall down. As soon as she did I saw her life filled with more purpose and she wanted to fight her cancer. She demonstrates this when she decided to climb up the stairwell at the Anne Frank house. In the beginning of the film she would not have done that because she did nor care too much about proving anything to herself.

 

Another different element in these two materials is the relationships that surround both main characters. Vivian does not have any visitors throughout her treatment until the very end when Professor Ashford visits her. Vivian neglected relationship throughout her life and was left alone during her cancer. She did not seem as if she cared too much about those around her and I got to see that within the flashbacks she gave us. Hazel was much different when it came to relationships. She cared very much for her parents and was very worried as to what their lives would become after she passed. She was relieved to know that her mom was taking classes because she knew at that point that they would have a life without her. An explanation for this could be both Hazel and Vivian’s age. Vivian is much older and therefore wants to be at peace with herself when she goes. She wants to feel better about herself because of the decisions she made throughout her life. Hazel is much younger and because she lived a much smaller life, she did not have as many regrets as Vivian. Therefore she was more focused on making sure that the people around her continue to live their lives without her.

 

Both these cancer stories are different but they both contain unrealistic elements. Vanhoutte mentions in her article that W;t represents a stereotype of what people think cancer is. People think of cancer as something one goes through and learns from it. This was definitely seen in W;t when Vivian comes to the realization that she needs to change her research mentality and allow compassion to enter her life. Vanhoutte can argue that we see this same stereotype in the Fault in Our Stars when Hazel leaves her everyday life and begins to be more adventurous. Why is that someone who has cancer is expected to change their mindset? Not to say that those who have cancer do not have adventures, but those who have cancer similar to Hazel and are in the same health condition as her, it is highly unlikely for them to be doing the things that she was doing in the film. Even though I personally feel that these two stories are not that relatable for those who have cancer in real life, they were both well constructed and enjoyable. I felt compassion for both Vivian and Hazel. I am sure that many others have felt the same way as well. It was nice discussing and exploring various blogs at the end of the unit because it did give me a glimpse of the reality of cancer and I was able to compare and contrast with W;t and the Fault in Our Stars.

 

 

 

Deardorf, Julie.”Optimism Can Help, Hinder Patients.” Chicago Tribune. 23 Sept 2010. Chicagotribune.com. Web.

 

Edson, Margaret. Wit. London: Nick Hern, 1999. Print.

 

The Fault In Our Stars. Dir. Josh Boone. Perf. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. 20th Century Fox, 2014. DVD.

 

Vanhoutte, Jaqueline. “Cancer and the Common Woman in Margaret Edson’s W;T.” Comparative Drama (2002): 391-410. Blackboard. Web. Jan. 2015.

 

§40 · February 11, 2015 · Uncategorized · (1 comment) ·


Time and space is seen in the film, And the Band Played On, by simultaneously showing the events that took place in the United States as well as the events that occurred over in Europe. As gay men in the U.S. were contracting the disease, we saw doctors in France researching what the disease actually was because they have seen the disease much earlier than it was introduced in the states. It was important to have this visual medium in the film because it allowed us to see a broader perspective of the disease and how different people and organizations were addressing it. It shows us how the disease traveled from one continent to another but was not given any importance until it was seen in the America. The first case was a women in Copenhagen and then later seen in Paris. It was something the doctors have never seen before. Along with seeing how the epidemic was unfolding in the U.S. and Europe, it was important to see how it was being addressed in California, New York, and the CDC headquarters in Atlanta. It was necessary to see the time span it took for the disease to be considered a serious matter and to see real actions made to research the disease and look for a possible treatment and cure. This adds to the film’s importance by showing the responses people had in regards to AIDS mainly because at first it was only found in gay men.

 

In the film it seemed at first that the only people getting HIV was American gay men. Since no one knew what it was and how it was caused, there was very little information shared about the disease. When patients in Europe were coming in with the same symptoms, the French doctor there was just as confused as the American doctors were in the states. It was important to see how the same situation was being handled in two places and how different the aspects were. This reminds me of the recent Ebola outbreak. It seemed as if the disease only occurred in the specific regions of Africa. The U.S. was not affected by it until the very first case was diagnosed in Texas. That showed us the reality of the disease and how it was not only limited to Africa but also could easily spread to other countries. What was first seen as a continental issue became a worldwide issue as soon as the disease was found in a different continent.

 

The film, And the Band Played On, demonstrates how there can be discrimination in even the field of disease and science. The HIV outbreak began with only gay males. Because they were homosexuals, they were not given the spotlight in mainstream media about the disease outbreak. It appeared that that the deaths caused by the disease was not of importance simply because they were gay. The CDC was not clearly disclosing information as to how the disease can be spread because they didn’t have science to back them up. Because the gay men at the time were very promiscuous, they were not looking at the fact that the disease was transmittable through sex. No scientific evidence was being looked into as to how the disease was being transmitted. In the meeting in San Francisco when they were discussing the shut down of the bath houses, it was mentioned that if the epidemic was killing grandmothers and virgins, then there would be investigators left and right trying to figure out the cause (ATBPO).

 

What surprised me in the film was how many of the health companies and blood bank owners did not want to invest money that could potentially save lives. It seemed as if the death count was not ‘high enough’, as mentioned by Dr. Francis in the scene when they were meeting with the blood banks and other health organizations. I remember saying to myself that once the death count reached over 10,000, that’s when organizations will invest money. When Dr. Gallo came into picture, it was clear that the only thing on everyone’s agenda was money. Dr. Gallo was more focused on receiving the noble price than helping others. When the French doctors discovered the virus, instead of being thrilled he was angry because he wanted the credit for it. Dr. Francis demonstrated a genuine desire to help others. He was less concerned about the money, profits, and fame and more worried about ways to keep the disease from spreading and save the infected lives.

 

And the Band Played On. Dir. Roger Spottiswoode. Perf. Matthew Modine and Alan Alda. HBO, 1993. Amazon Prime.

 

§37 · February 7, 2015 · Uncategorized · (1 comment) ·