This book explores societal vulnerabilities highlighted within cinema and develops an interpretive framework for understanding the depiction of societal responses to epidemic disease outbreaks across cinematic history.
Drawing on a large database of twentieth- and twenty-first-century films depicting epidemics, the study looks into issues including trust, distrust, and mistrust; different epidemic experiences down the lines of expertise, gender, and wealth; and the difficulties in visualizing the invisible pathogen on screen. The authors argue that epidemics have long been presented in cinema as forming a point of cohesion for the communities portrayed, as individuals and groups “from below” represented as characters in these films find solidarity in battling a common enemy of elite institutions and authority figures. Throughout the book, a central question is also posed: “cohesion for whom?”, which sheds light on the fortunes of those characters that are excluded from these expressions of collective solidarity.
This book is a valuable reference for scholars and students of film studies and visual studies as well as academic and general readers interested in topics of films and history, and disease and society.
The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.
1. Understanding Epidemics through the Cinematic Lens 2. Societal Responses to Epidemics: Immorality and Resistance 3. Suspicious Minds: Cinematic Depiction of Distrust during Epidemics 4. Bridging the Gap: Epidemics, Public Health Workers, and "Heroism" in Cinematic Perspective 5. From Spreaders to Sacrifice: Cinematic Representation of Women during Epidemics 6. Between Urban Depravity and Rural Backwardness: Cinematic Depiction of Poverty during Epidemics 7. Conclusion: Epidemics and Cinema in an Age of COVID-19