And The Band Played On …

01 Dec

it is very predictable indeed to pick up the film on this day.

there was a time when aaron spelling could not be more tuneful in depicting the trashy lives of americans, yet he made a move that put every heads turning to him in suspicious looks when he decided to bring up a story on how aids surfaced to prominence for the first time.

the film is called and the band played on.

it tells a story on the outbreak of aids in late 1970s to early 1980s when everyone was busy pleasing themselves and the police department of the world (aka the usa government on the brink of never ending cold war) was busy spending money for military services. at lease these activities would have gone on forever had thousands of hundreds of victims not died in suffer.

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despite boasting the ensemble cast comprised of A-list hollywood stars, led by thoughtful look of matthew modine with strong supports by nuanced performances from richard gere, nathalie baye, ian mc kellen, swoosie kurtz in her utmost non-irritating presence, lily tomlin in her feistiest persona, steve martin in his subtle manner, alan alda in his rare antagonistic turn, etc., the film could not escape from the look of made-for-tv films, and imagining of seeing the film on a big screen would be unthinkable. not to mention some small melodramatic scenes such as modine’s standing in the rain that might look cliche and cheesy.

yet, what made me drawn to the film, long after i took the dvd out of my dvd player, is its sincerity in telling the story as is, without any judgment nor any over-the-top dramatization. the truth could not be stranger than fiction here, where scientific data could give a chilling effect as the story progresses, and the bleak look of the film is maintained well, so as not to give any false hope to its viewers.

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and the false hope is something that has been alarming.

the film was made in 1993, in which it told the story circa 1981-1985, and seeing the film in the early years of a new century, i could not be more shocked to see its relevance to date. way back more than two decades ago, people reacted to then-unknown virus in some uncivilized way, and sadly, some people prefer to keep the dated thought.

the effort put by dr. francis and the team to make people aware of the deadly illness could not be continued by keeping the narrow-minded perception. that aids spreads in many unthinkable ways is scary, and wearing red ribbons while keeping prejudice mind certainly will not make the illness to be treated better.

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now, you may think i sound emotional in this entry.
and perhaps this is such a rare time i forgive the film’s face-value quality while digging more on the impact the film has created by linking it to the present happenings within our surroundings.
not to mention that i happen to know some people infected with the virus.

but if i still got scared in getting myself tested for HIV, which eventually i did and the result was negative, isn’t that another indication how we have not been able to cope with the hype, and not even the disease yet, well?

thus, one can’t say happy aids day.

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Posted by on 12/01/2005 in English, Film


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