Zero Patience

Zero Patience

Movie: Zero Patience
Director: John Greyson
Produced by: Channel 4, Cineplex Odeon Films, Ontario Film Development Corporation, Telefilm Canada, Zero Patience Productions
Released By:
MPAA Rating:

The surreal and the supernatural join forces in this extremely unusual “AIDS musical.” The story features the ghost of the French-Canadian airline steward who, according to And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts’ book about the AIDS epidemic, was the origin of one of the largest outbreaks of HIV. Known as “Patient Zero” by the Centers for Disease Control, the handsome and promiscuous steward was basically the “Typhoid Mary” of the AIDS phenomenon. In the story, Patient Zero comes back from limbo as a ghost to see his friends suffering from the syndrome: some dying, the rest protesting at ACT-UP rallies. He realizes that his memory has been vilified as the extremely promiscuous source of all this suffering. However, it is only when he becomes aware of an exhibit being prepared at the Toronto Natural History Museum, one which singles him out yet again as the villain, that he becomes aware that the exhibit’s curator is an unusual being in his own right. In fact, the show is being put together the famous nineteenth-century explorer of the upper Nile, Sir Richard Burton, inexplicably still living, working at the museum, and filled with misguided homophobia. Though no one else can see Zero, Burton can, and eventually the two become lovers and the ancient explorer comes to view “Patient Zero” as “the heroic slut who inspired safe sex.” Musical numbers include a high-camp underwater ballet production of Tell Me The Story of My Life.

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