A virus has changed our lives, we are facing one of the worst health crises anyone has seen in decades. The novel coronavirus has infected over four million people and has claimed 2,86,000 lives across the globe. In India, there are 70,756 confirmed cases and 2,293 people have lost the battle to COVID-19. Sure we have unpolluted and vehicle-free cities, but our lives will never be the same after all of this is over.
The pandemic led to a nationwide lockdown. Apart from lockdown memes, homemade banana breads, Dalgona coffee, celebrity at-home workouts, we saw one more thing trending on the internet–Steven Soderbergh’s movie Contagion–a film made nine years ago. Why? ‘Coz clearly some of us wanted to stay ahead of the curve by understanding the pandemic. The movie, with eery similarities to the current pandemic, was on everyone’s watchlist. In both fictional and real-life cases, the outbreak originates in China and in each instance, bats are implicated.
So if you’re seeking out movies that can help you with more information on what living amid a pandemic is like, here’s a watchlist for you.
The movie begins with Gwyneth Paltrow coughing while talking on the phone and she’s visibly sick. She has been infected with a deadly virus, but she treats it like normal flu. The movie shows us how she is a host and goes on to infect people she comes in contact with. The disease in the movie, called MEV-1, is life-threatening just like the novel coronavirus. The film has doctors coding the chain of the spread like it’s being done IRL. Contagion also throws light on how healthcare and social systems work during a pandemic.
A gigantic monster emerges from the Han river and attacks a big city in South Korea. Bong Joo Ho’s made this film 14 years before his historic Oscar’s Best Picture win for Parasite. The monster in the film has been caused by pollution from a US military base, whose top brass insist on a heavy-handed imposition of lockdown as the panic spreads. Surprisingly, The Host is an entertaining thriller, a family drama and a witty film, all in one. Of course, you cannot expect any less from this master director, right?
Outbreak is probably the only pandemic movie that actually makes you feel good. An Army doctor, Dr. Sam Daniels, struggles to thwart a deadly virus from a small California town. The villain in the movie is an Ebola-like virus that originates in Zaire. The film opened in theaters while an actual Ebola outbreak was occurring in Zaire in the real world. The doctor struggles to find the key antidote to prevent the plague-like virus and also deals with the hidden agenda of the armed services as they protect the secrecy of the virus that originated from one of their weapons of biological warfare.
This six-part docuseries on Netflix shows how prepared the world is to deal with a pandemic. The six parts follow different countries’ reactions and actions toward the virus. It mentions previous pandemics, including Ebola and the Spanish Flu of 1918, and has scientists discussing the theory that the world “was due” for a new virus. The film also shows how doctors in the US and Asia worked tirelessly to develop a vaccine.
Virus takes us through those days in the summer of 2018 when a series of deaths in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts had thrown the state administration into a tizzy. The film shows authorities struggling to identify the cause of the deaths and even after the virus was identified, there was no vaccine to prevent its spread. Directed by Aashiq Abu, Virus is a medical thriller, a tribute to those who helped contain and fight the Nipah virus in Kerala.
Featured Image: Netflix