Same Same But Different. Philadelphia. Beats Per Minute. Dallas Buyers Club. The Normal Heart. What do you think these movies have in common?
Well, their central focus is AIDS and how it affects the lives of people who have contracted it.
I cannot call it a trend, but it seems like producers, directors, and writers are getting bolder than ever when it comes to the movies they make. There have been films with a lot of sexual content that appear on the silver screen, yes. You may have also seen gory and extremely violent movies. However, a sexually transmitted disease like AIDS is such a sensitive matter that people used to stay away from in the past. Even if there were several movies about them in the 80s, people hardly paid attention to them.
The reason for the latter is that HIV/AIDS was a taboo topic for decades. No one wanted to talk about it as if merely uttering the words would give them the disease. As you would see in most movies, the individuals who got tested positive lost everything, including their job and their family and friends. As a result, they tend to lose themselves, too.
“Many people believe that AIDS put an end to the sexual revolution, but this perception sidesteps an acknowledgement of the underlying factors which had already undermined the a real revolution in sexual values and overshadows more pervasive threats to our sexual health,” writes Deborah Anapol Ph.D.
The thing is, the 21st-century movies about AIDS are starting to thrive and become known now. They may never be as popular as sci-fi films, but they gain a new audience every time a similar flick comes out.
Why, you may ask?
More People Are Beginning To Care About AIDS Patients
The primary reason I can think of is that there is a growing number of AIDS-free individuals who care about people with a sexually transmitted disease. They may be empathic; they want to know how to act around AIDS positive folks. So, the best way to learn that is by watching a movie that revolves around the condition.
“Empathy promotes helping behaviors. Not only are you more likely to engage in helpful behaviors when you feel empathy for other people; other people are also more likely to help you when they experience empathy,” writes Kendra Cherry, MS.
The Characters Are Relatable
Although it’s sad, the truth is that more people are living with HIV/AIDS now than in the past. What’s worse is that the age range continues to expand as kids and teenagers contract this disease as well. There is no way out of this situation, but they at least find solace in seeing what the characters in the movies have done to make their life worthwhile.
People Want To Learn How To Prevent Getting AIDS
Another reason why AIDS-centered films are no longer shunned away is that people want to know how they can avoid contracting the illness. After all, the story usually shows the life of the ill character before and after testing positive for AIDS. When you focus on the former, you will figure out what not to do, such as having unprotected sex with multiple partners.
It feels liberating to realize that the world is opening up individuals living with AIDS. The silver screen is one of the many tools to demonstrate that. It may be small, but the fact that filmmakers in various countries – not only in the US – use it can make a significant impact on society.
“Using techniques that address a client’s intersectional identities may be vital in developing a strong therapeutic alliance and providing a safe space for clients while also demonstrating cultural competence,” writes Kevin L. Nadal, PhD, and David P. Rivera, MS.
Let’s continue supporting AIDS-centered movies!