In reflecting upon the movie And the band played on, one of the most curious issues is that of the title its self given that the film is about what one character in the course of the dialogue adequately states as “This is not a political issue, this is health issue.” (Spottiswoode) As such, the quote indicates that the film is indeed about a serious health issue rather than a study of popular music culture.
In this case the writer considers that the title of film taken from the book of the same name represents the concept that throughout the story seemingly ordinary aspects of daily life must continue despite the presence of extraordinary events taking place in this case represented by an epidemic of HIV and AIDS.
Before watching the film, I may have had a basic understanding that HIV and AIDS represented a viral style disease which is largely transmitted through sexual activity. However, previous to watching the movie I had little knowledge of the distinction between HIV and AIDS and alternative methods of transmissions such as the problem of children being born with the disease. In addition, I would consider that my knowledge of the issue had largely come from the popular press which in some circumstances may still to this day be seen as supporting the view that HIV and AIDS are a problem mostly associated with the gay community. This is epitomised by the quotation in the film “Well, you know, if the gay community doesn't start raising hell, do you think Reagan is going to do a damn thing?” (Spottiswoode) The key question raised by this quotation why should it take the gay community to gain a reaction from the political establishment is the issue is a truly universal health issue.
Considering the issue of “bathhouses” the writer was largely unaware of the role of the bathhouse previous to watching the film. However, after watching the feature it has now been learned that these so called bathhouses function as a place for the conducting of homosexual activities in a non-commercial context, that is while facilities are hired by participants, such establishments do not serve as a brothel in the standard sense of the word.
Considering the most emotive element of the film, the writer finds that the final montage of the film in which a candle lit vigil is held in San Francisco with images of those suffering from HIV or those who have died from the disease are represented. Here the writer found this scene particularly emotive as it brought a largely human element to the film considering that the issue is not just an impersonal virus that affects people in distant communities and faraway lands. Instead, the issue is one which causes real human suffering and affects real life people. In this sense, the end scene has a particular resonance with one quotation from the film “I want to stop you from turning a holocaust into an international pissing contest!” (Spottiswoode) For the writer this quote surmises the issue that policy makers often overlook the human aspect of such tragedies as HIV and AIDS as they look solely to maintain political positions or reduce such issues to point scoring opportunities amongst political adversaries.
And The Band Played One. Dir. Roger Spottiswoode. 1993. Film.