Pandemic movies

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Will living through a pandemic change the depiction of disease in movies

Besides HIV/AIDS, there has been no wide-reaching pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Influenza and, from a movie point of view at least, it’s pretty boring to live through. Despite what zombie movies might suggest, viruses are relatively slow moving and the deadlier a virus is, the less transmissible it tends to be. And the vast majority of people remain uninfected. It doesn’t make for great storytelling. However, up until now, the majority of people had no firsthand experience of living through an epidemic / pandemic and so could more easily suspend reality while watching these types of movies. But what happens now? Will the genre move away from the thriller type movie towards to personal suffering, either in lock down or the loss of loved ones?

  • I feel like there's a lot of potential here. For my part, I'm someone who thinks this particular virus has been blown way out of proportion, and that various unscrupulous actors are trying to use it to spread fear for their own gain. So, with that in mind, I think the idea of disease as a tool of social control would be a fascinating plot line that I hope someone tackles at some point. – Debs 2 weeks ago
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  • Debs: So I'm not crazy! Whew! I'm with you...but I am curious as to how COVID-19 will affect creative industries. For instance, I'm a fiction writer, and my fellow writers and I are getting tips like, "Don't come to agents/publishers with pandemic-centered material." It's too soon, apparently. But in a decade or two, who knows? I'd also like to see a comparison/contrast between COVID-19 and, say, the influenza epidemic of 1918. We still don't have much entertainment material about that...I wonder why? – Stephanie M. 1 week ago
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  • Stephanie M: I'm currently working on a research assignment regarding the influenza pandemic of 1918 (more pertinent to my research, it didn't reach Australia until 1919). From what I can understand, the pandemic arrived at the conclusion of the First World War and so, amongst that, it was forgotten. Many simply perceived it as the final, deadly battle of the war. That could potentially answer your question regarding why it isn't covered in entertainment media. But that then raises the question, will today's pandemic be forgotten by the film industry amidst 2020's other significant events - bushfires in Australia, wildfires occurring currently in the U.S., mass protests in the U.S. and other Western countries, etc.? – Samantha Leersen 7 days ago
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  • I really like the questions at the end of you post: "But what happens now? Will the genre move away from the thriller type movie towards to personal suffering, either in lock down or the loss of loved ones?"If someone chooses to write on this topic, I hope that person will either avoid making blanket claims about pandemics or will take some time to understand the topic and to support all of the major claims with good sources. We already have all sorts of distortions and misinformation out there; we don't need to add to the pile.I'm really not sure about the truthfulness of this claim in your post, for example: "the deadlier a virus is, the less transmissible it tends to be." There are specific terms found in most any serious, informed discussion of a specific virus: virulence (deadliness), replication rate (or growth rate, which I understand to be ultimately tied to the ease of transmission, the length of the contagious stage, etc.), and so on. At least one credible source says there's no certain connection between a pathogen's deadliness and its potential to spread: "contrary to common assumptions, virulence and replication rates can evolve independently, particularly after the initial spread of host resistance." (https://www.pnas.org/content/116/34/16927)I'm also a little unsure about this claim: "Besides HIV/AIDS, there has been no wide-reaching pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Influenza." The 1957-1958 H2N2 pandemic probably caused some 1.1 million worldwide and some 116,000 deaths in the United States.– JamesBKelley 4 days ago
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  • All of these notes are so dismissive if the disease itself. The 20 and 30 somethings poo-poo the deaths of their grandparents and just not caring. Sounds to me a diseased based tale of Sodom and Gomorrah is what you guys need. How about that?200,000 dead and those not enough to raise even a glimmer of recognition of man’s humanity by the citizens of Sodom. God gets pissed and destroys the insensitive cretins. The special effects would be WILD .. imagine .. fire, hurricanes, people forced underground where it’s cool enough to survive. Now that would be something to see .. oh wait .. – beaublue 3 days ago
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