And the Band Played on

And the Band Played on

DVD - 2001
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Follows the struggle of a handful of strong-willed men and women who took on the fight to save lives in the face of a mysterious illness now called AIDS.
Publisher: [United States] : HBO Home Video, [2001]
ISBN: 9780783118536
0783118538
Branch Call Number: AND
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (140 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.

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c
ClarkHarveyRoth
Dec 31, 2015

I came to this movie after finally reading the book a couple months ago, which I thoroughly 'enjoyed', despite the frequent bouts of waterworks. I wanted to see how it translated onto the screen, expecting a pretty bland, summary chronology of events, & I was certainly impressed with what I got instead. First of all it takes a lot of nerve & skill to render 600+ pages of nonfiction, covering a dozen years & events on a global scale, as a cohesive, watchable film. It works in large part because of the brilliant editing throughout...scenes are pointed, paced well, sequenced well, & never go long enough to get stale. Nursebob's comment about the portrayal of gay men rings true, but with the caveat that of all the figures from this particular history who could have been elevated to the status of main character, it was Matthew Modine's Don Francis, a field scientist from the CDC & not, say, one of the many gay activists & persons of influence who also figure heavily in the book. It seemed like Ian McKellen as Bill Krauss (weird casting decision that I never really got over) was meant to bear the burden of that entire spectrum of voices & experiences somehow, & in that sense the film lacked some color & accuracy for me. On the other hand this allowed the narrative to range as far as it needed to into the international scientific community, as in the end it is also very much a film about epidemiology & the political ramifications of science & medicine. Really well done, though, really 'entertaining', & yes, the montage at the end will be a tough one for anyone with the slightest awareness of or association with this disease. I was a home health care worker here in Seattle in the early 90s, & I saw a lot of very vibrant people in the latter stages of a very sickeningly unfair fight. I remember them vividly to this day, & their courage beyond all hope & courage. CR

n
Nursebob
Dec 13, 2014

Matthew Modine heads a surprisingly diverse cast of A and B-listers (Phil Collins as a gay bathhouse manager?!) in this medical docu-drama examining the earliest years of the AIDS epidemic. He plays Dr. Don Francis, a researcher who along with colleagues in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles---not to mention the Pasteur Institute in Paris whose work was pivotal in isolating the virus---struggled to understand why so many previously healthy men were succumbing to opportunistic infections heretofore unseen in such numbers. Hampered by conservative politics, professional egos, and the mistrust of the gay community itself, Francis and the other teams waged an uphill battle in the beginning while new cases of AIDS steadily increased worldwide. A well-meaning film despite some Hollywood grandstanding and a script which often wavers between highschool lecture and activist rant. The use of actual news footage provided an historical backdrop and all those familiar faces jockeying for a cameo in what was then a “controversial” picture put in generally good performances. Unfortunately, although some very obvious attempts were made to portray the gay community in a favorable light I couldn’t help but see them as little more than a small horde of angry club boys and underwear models serving up background noise. A closing montage of video clips and dead celebrity photos, all set to an Elton John ballad, was blatantly manipulative yet still left me in tears as I remembered my own Lover who died from this disease over twenty years ago. Nevertheless, this remains an important testament when taken with a grain of salt and an understanding of the era in which it was produced.

j
jjameson3053
Feb 10, 2014

Definatley a supplement to Sex-Ed. This is something that parents need to talk with their kids about. I recomend 13 and up.

stembridge Mar 25, 2013

Riveting docudrama. Don't miss it.

troon13 Jan 04, 2013

This movie hits it right on the head. It might have been stopped if the right people had listened

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jjameson3053
Feb 10, 2014

jjameson3053 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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troon13 Jan 04, 2013

This is great movie show how it might have been. If the right people had listened about AIDs at the start of the outbreak.True story well done

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