Pandemic: Facing AIDS | Chicago Reader

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113 minutes

Documentary
Rory Kennedy's HBO documentary does a slick job of reporting on AIDS in five different cultures where varying modes of transmission prevail—heterosexual sex in Uganda, prostitution in Thailand and India, dirty needles in Russia, and gay sex in Brazil. Much is familiar here: some families reject their infected members out of shame while others are supportive; some national health systems can't cope with the rising toll of infection (Russia) while others have greatly reduced death rates (Brazil). The film's inappropriately upbeat tone, which extends from pretty tourist images of major cities to Danny Glover's calm narration to a weirdly chipper ending, fails to convey the awfulness of the disease itself beyond a few quick shots of emaciated patients.

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