‘Contagion’, The 2011 Film With a Shocking Resemblance To The Outbreak Of Coronavirus

Nine years ago, Steven Soderbergh directed a film that served as a dramatic warning by portraying the different chapters that make up the spread of a virus. From contagion to government action, the fear of the public and the sensationalism of a sector of the press. But today it works like a real horror drama. Contagion has become fashionable again before the outbreak of coronavirus and after seeing it again I can confirm that the parallels leave us wanting to wear chinstrap. (Courtesy of © 2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc .; Claudette Barius) More No one would have imagined that the Traffic director would be a movie Nostradamus but Contagio, who went through theaters with the applause of critics and an average box office that saved her from failure, is the Hollywood forecast of what we are living right now. At the end of January we learned that the tape written by Scott Z. Burns (who also wrote another medical thriller for Soderberg as Side Effects, 2013) had climbed in the Top 10 of iTunes rentals in the US and the United Kingdom as an obvious example of the morbid of the human being But what a surprise I took when I discovered that Movistar + added it to its recent programming as well as being available on the platform. I confess that as a follower of Soderbergh’s cinema I remembered similar data between the film and the current situation in the world because of the fear of COVID -19 (the official name of the current coronavirus), so I set out to see it again so I could write more safely. And if readers, since then I feel that I am more aware of the number of times I touch my face or wash my hands (no doubt, a reflection caused by the terror that the movie shares). Let’s see, is it so similar to the reality of the coronavirus? Yes, and if we add that it was inspired by a real case, then the panic could increase. On that occasion, the story arose in the wake of the Nipah virus that appeared in Malaysia in the late 1990s spreading from pigs to farmers. If at the time Contagio served as a proposal that helped open the eyes on the importance of prevention , as well as bringing global awareness about the government management of an epidemic and the different people involved in the process to contain the information and reach a cure; Now it is practically a chronological portrait of what we have been following for two months in the news. Starring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and others, Contagio has no science fiction. And the reaction I felt despite being my second viewing was very different from what I had during a press pass nine years ago. There are even many Twitter users who claim to have discovered the film in recent weeks thanks to the virality of which it has been the protagonist, increasing panic around the epidemic or becoming dumbfounded at the resemblance between real life and the tape. Movie to watch … “contagion” … now that we are in a very sensitive and delicate time. #coronavirus . Take it with fun and we’ll see where we end up— Marcos (@ marcoslp87) February 24, 2020 In both stories, the epidemic originates in China and in the two viruses one of the culprits is a bat. It is as the character of Jennifer Ehle, a scientific doctor of the Center for Disease Control, says when she says that “somewhere in the world, the wrong pig crossed the wrong bat.” And voila, habemus virus again. Recall that it is believed that the current coronavirus that has the world in vilo would come from a wholesale market that markets with bats, snakes and other animals (“coronaviruses are an extensive family of viruses, some of which can cause human disease diversity , which range from the common cold to SARS. Viruses in this family can cause various diseases in animals, “WHO). Read more The film starts with” day 2 “of the virus showing Gwyneth Paltrow suffering flu-like symptoms at an airport, making visual emphasis through the planes in everything it touches. After living an extramarital adventure during a stopover of her flight with an old love, she returns to her husband (Matt Damon), dying shortly after and infecting her little one, who also dies. Throughout the process, Soderbergh adds a dose of thriller by keeping the eye of the camera in all corners where the virus remains on the road. Thus the first victim in China comes into play, from where the virus spreads first; the blogger journalist who manipulates the information according to his notion, gaining adherents along the way, even more fearing the population. We know the disease control services, the doctors who investigate at street level (Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard) and those who serve as intermediaries between them and the government (Laurence Fishburne). On one occasion the character of Kate Winslet must “raise awareness” to politicians who are obviously about to panic, and throws a phrase that remains etched forever: “the human being touches the face an average of 3,000 and 2,000 times a day”. It is true? It is one of the questions that plagued several forums in 2011 after the premiere of the film, and what science says according to a study I found at the US National Library of Medicine is that “the average is that each of the 26 students observed they touched their faces 23 times an hour. ” If we multiply it by 12 hours of a day, we have 276. But everything is relative. The same would be a few times if we do not disinfect our hands after touching public places, for example. The production also allows us to see the American government fearing the media impact and looking guilty but, above all, the film explores human selfishness in moments of “ every man for himself”. The shortage, violence, desert cities, lonely death and the protection of oneself and our loved ones, in contrast to the doctor who ends up finding the cure that puts her life at risk to test her vaccine. If the cure did not take it would take months to arrive leaving thousands of deaths along the way. Something that we can currently see in the news with the ghost cities of Wuhan, the empty supermarkets in Italy, the increase in the values ​​of gel alcohol (as my sister tells me what is happening in Italy where she lives) or the shortage of chinstraps / masks in many places.In turn, Contagio serves as a direct criticism of the devastating effect that bad information can have on the population in the figure of Alan Krumwiede, a freelance journalist who earns 12 million followers convincing of alleged conspiracy theories around the virus, promoting a homeopathic cure. But it is nothing more than a charlatan who seeks to slice. ATTENTION: BELOW SPOILERS DETAILED AT THE END OF THE FILM In Contagio, it all starts with a bat and a pig but the fault lies with a chef who does not disinfect his hands. The final sequence ends at the beginning, showing us the “day 1” of the virus, when a bat ingests a fruit that drops on a farm with pigs. A little pig eats it and shortly after it ends in the kitchen of a restaurant. The chef is preparing it raw when he cleans his hands on his apron, without water, or japan and much less alcohol, and goes on to take a picture with the character of Gwyneth Paltrow taking his hand. And that’s it So easy and scary. One detail that many criticized at the time is that Paltrow’s character died with the detail of having been unfaithful to her husband, while the faithful Matt Damon is immune to the virus. This raised many blisters by touching a criticism against the adulterous woman since the fact that Paltrow is unfaithful in history has no impact on the virus.n the plot itself. She already infected him throughout his trip, it is true that when leaving the airport and having a brief affair he adds another city to the contagion, but in reality the epidemic had already begun at the time the chef touched his hands. All he does is add more pain to the character of Matt Damon being the dramatic dose of the story. But nothing more. But this parallel between the cinema and an epidemic we already experienced in the mid-90s. Some may not remember it but in 1995 it was released Pop (or Epidemic in Latin America), a similar production of Wolfwang Petersen, but more dramatic , focused on the epidemic of a virus like Ebola. Starring Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman in his best years oblivious to the sexual controversies that would come to their lives, the film premiered months before an Ebola outbreak spread in Zaire, now the Republic of Congo. But Contagion is not the only audiovisual proposal that spreads panic. Netflix did its thing by making available to users different movies and series about viruses and epidemics. For example, I remember that shortly after the first deaths in Wuhan were known – specifically on January 22 – a docuserie titled Pandemic: how to prevent an outbreak appeared featured in the App of the streaming giant, when I never saw a series of this type in the platform. This is a six-episode docuserie about the “heroes fighting in the front line against the flu” showing “daily efforts to prevent the next global outbreak.” It is true that Contagio could be the movie that predicted what we are living now. Or it is simply a successful analysis (with many coincidences) of the global challenge facing the world in case of a new epidemic. It is interesting that the public gives him an opportunity now to raise awareness, although we must avoid helping to expand paranoia. As Sodebergh shows in his story, fear can become our worst enemy so, if there is a learning we can get out of it, it is that with everyone’s effort, do it, wherever you go, be aware and take care to through prevention.More stories that may interest you:

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