1st Edition

The AIDS Movie
Representing a Pandemic in Film and Television

ISBN 9780789011084
Published August 25, 2000 by Routledge
136 Pages

USD $64.95

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Book Description

Are people with HIV/AIDS treated fairly in films?

Here is a compelling book that provides you with a thorough examination of how HIV/AIDS is characterized and portrayed in film and how this portrayal affects American culture. The AIDS Movie: Representing a Pandemic in Film and Television uncovers the primary ways that films about HIV/AIDS influence American ideology and contribute to society's view of the disease. In The AIDS Movie, professors and scholars in the areas of popular culture, film, sociology, and gay and lesbian studies will discover cross-cultural approaches that can be used to analyze the representation of AIDS in American films made in the first two decades of the pandemic. Giving you insight into the production and circulation of social meanings pertaining to HIV/AIDS, this study explores the social ramifications of such representations for gay men in American society, as well as for the rest of the population.

Interesting and informative, The AIDS Movie: Representing a Pandemic in Film and Television examines the ways that AIDS has been represented in American movies over the past two decades, defines and proposes criteria for identifying an “AIDS movie” and explores how these images shape social opinions about AIDS and gay men.

The AIDS Movie discusses several character types such as “innocent victims” and “guilty villains” and the process of victim-blaming that occurs in AIDS movies. Defining an “AIDS movie” as a film with at least one character who either has been infected with HIV, has developed AIDS, or is grieving the recent death of a loved one from AIDS, this guide bases standards for these movies on several works, including:

  • Chocolate Babies
  • It's My Party
  • Jeffrey
  • The Living End
  • Grief
  • An Early Frost
  • Men in Love
  • A Place for Annie
  • Philadelphia
  • The Ryan White Story
  • Gia
  • Boys on the Side
The AIDS Movie: Representing a Pandemic in Film and Television is compelling and insightful as it cleverly reveals how AIDS is portrayed in cinema and television, and how that portrayal affects American culture.

Table of Contents


  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Conceptualizing the AIDS Movie and Its Study
  • AIDS, Social Construction, and Media Representation
  • Defining and Analyzing the AIDS Movie
  • Significance of the Study
  • Chapter 2. The Cinematic Tradition of Otherness Meets AIDS
  • Otherness, Science Fiction, and AIDS
  • Otherness, Melodrama, and AIDS
  • Other Forms of Otherness and AIDS
  • Chapter 3. “Us” versus “Them”: “Innocent Victims” and the Politics of Victim Blaming
  • “Villains” and “Innocent Victims”
  • The Process of Victim Blaming in AIDS Movies
  • Chapter 4. Gay Men as “The (Primary) Other” in the AIDS Movie
  • The Persistent Representational Link Between Gay Men and AIDS: Opportunities, Shortcomings, and Consequences for Gay Males
  • Consequences of the Persistent Representational Link Between Gay Men and AIDS for Members of Other Social Groups
  • Chapter 5. AIDS and the City (versus the Country)
  • The City as Gay Utopia and AIDS Dystopia
  • The Country as Balm to City-Dwelling “Deviants”
  • Chapter 6. Other Ways of Representing AIDS
  • The Form and Function of AIDS Characters in Non-AIDS Movies
  • AIDS Metaphor Movies
  • Self-Representation in AIDS Documentaries
  • The (Near) Future of Representing AIDS
  • Appendix A: Complete List of AIDS Movies Complied
  • Appendix B: List of AIDS Movies Analyzed in This Study
  • References
  • Index

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