July 22, 2014

HIV/AIDS on screen: by focusing on history, we ignore the present

Written by Joshua Pocius, PhD Candidate, Screen and Cultural Studies at University of Melbourne

This post originally appeared on the Conversation blog. Read the full article here.

Consider the last three major films gracing our screens that explicitly deal with HIV/AIDS – the Academy Award-winning, highly acclaimed Dallas Buyers Club in 2013, followed by Ryan Murphy’s much-hyped HBO television film rendition of Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart and the festival circuit darling Test, both in 2014. A picture begins to emerge of HIV/AIDS as something from a distant time.

Each of these films are pointedly set in the early 1980s, at the dawn of the AIDS epidemic in the United States. They recall the AIDS crisis years in ways that are undeniably important to an ongoing archival project.

But their existence and widespread reception run the risk of contributing to a broader cultural illiteracy when it comes to the contemporary lived realities of HIV in high-income countries such as the United States or Australia.

Read the remainder of the article here.