Dhaka Courier

Coronavirus in movies: pandemic meets reels

Globally the deadly pandemic COVID-19 has killed nearly half a million and infected way more. Although the disease has ravaged nations and cut off international communication between them, nobody can deny this will alter the course of tomorrow's world. One thing sets coronavirus apart from previous many deadly pandemics as chronicles of an outbreak of this scale have never been preserved before in so many mediums. And what greater medium than film! As of writing this article, at least two movies have already been made over the lethal disease and many are on the way. Interestingly, Bangladesh has joined the club already.

A phenomenon like coronavirus is bound to affect future art forms and works produced in some ways. Films are no exception. Persian Canadian filmmaker Mostafa Keshvari is the first director to shoot and release a feature-film based on coronavirus. The Canada-based director's incredible feat is the movie was filmed just weeks before North America went into lockdown. Keshvari said in an interview that he expected the opposite.

His movie, 'Corona: Fear is a virus' was shot entirely in Vancouver mid-February. The plot includes seven individuals trapped in an elevator with a COVID-19 patient among them. The cast of the film improvised a lot of the acts in script in this low-budget drama.

Keshvari, in an interview with CBC Radio, said, "We wanted to make something about xenophobia and use the virus as a metaphor for the fear of each other."

It is Keshvari's second feature film. Horizon Motion Pictures holds the right to distribute the 63-minute feature.

Not too long after another feature-length film based on the outbreak hit the online media which took a complete different rather whacky approach to address the pandemic.

'Corona Zombies' is an over-the-top comedy horror flick directed by Charles Brand which depicts that people affected by COVID-19 have turned into mindless zombies.

The movie is anything but praiseworthy as it repeats the done-to-death handwash and social distancing jokes throughout its 61-minute span. The borderline parody film used repurposed footage from two B-grade zombie horrors, Hell of the Living Dead and Zombies vs. Strippers alongside real-world news footage.

Shot over the period of 28 days, the film premiered on Full Moon Features’ website on April 10.

Big names in Hollywood production studios such as Universal and Blumhouse are reportedly working on titles involving the pandemic.

Coming over to Bollywood, filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma released a four-minute-long trailer of ‘Coronavirus’ on his youtube channel ‘RGV’ and took twitter to announce the movie.

“We shot the coronavirus film in the lockdown period while strictly following guidelines,” he twitted.

The film’s trailer shows a family concerned about a female member who is coughing and showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Ram Gopal Varma, the producer of the movie described on twitter, “Coronavirus is not a horror film. It is about the horrors which are inside all of us including our great political leaders and bureaucrats who actually know only as much as us which is just nothing.”

Information about the release of the film is still unknown. Agasthya Manu is director of the movie.

A number of short films are already available on YouTube about the pandemic.

In Bangladesh, director Syed Wahiduzzaman Diamond has started shooting of his fifth feature film on Coronavirus outbreak. The film is expected to focus on the impact of the pandemic in Bangladesh and the valiant roles of health workers, police and journalists.

‘COVID-19 in Bangladesh’ which is the working title of the film, stars Bappi Khan and Adhora in lead roles.

Initial shooting commenced on Friday (May 29) in locations like Kamlapur Railway Station and Sadarghat.

Diamond debuted his directing career with ‘Nacholer Rani’ (2006) based on the Tevaga movement and life of revolutionary Ila Mitra. ‘Gangajatra’ (2009) earned him National Film Award for Best Director.

‘COVID-19 in Bangladesh’ is produced by Shabnam Shehnaz Chowdhury. Apart from directing, Syed Wahiduzzaman Diamond wrote the screenplay as well.

A generation-altering crisis like coronavirus pandemic is sure to dominate and influence the future of global cinema. These film ventures are the first to address the issue and many more are on the cards for coming years.

  • Pandemic
  • Covid-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Film

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