Contagion, Cassandra Crossing and Coronavirus | Daily News

Contagion, Cassandra Crossing and Coronavirus

‘Contagion’ hit silver screen on September 3, 2011, about nine years and a few months before the Coronavirus was first known to the world in December last year and 17 years before SARS emerged first in February 2003. Ironically, both these deadly diseases originated in China and spread to other countries.

The film, ‘Contagion’, is realistic since it does not include a theme that an alien virus or a being from ex territorial land infecting the earth. Its story unfolds around a real virus which transmits to others through fomites of the infected. Therefore, the film received wide attention and critics saw it as a good example of how deadly diseases spread so fast in the world perishing thousands.

Steven Soderbergh directed ‘Contagion’ and its cast include veteran stars such as Bryan Cranston, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Matt Damon and Jude Law. As Coronavirus hits hard China and threatens others with its deadly tenacity, filmgoers over the world have refocused on `Contagion’ because its story repeats now.

Animal flesh

Coronavirus emerged from China originating from animal flesh, according to scientists. Similarly, the virus in `Contagion’ takes form in animal flesh, namely, a bat disturbed by an arriving bulldozer flew off the banana tree whereon it perched to feed on bananas. Frightened, it flew over a pigpen putting its dung mixed with bananas into the pen which a piglet in the pen consumed.

Eventually, a chef from a restaurant took the piglet for butchering for food and he happened to shake hand with a customer without washing his hands which have been contaminated with the virus infected flesh of the piglet. The customer, Beth Emhoff, (Gwyneth Paltrow) contracted the disease from this mere handshake and she died of the disease, but the virus spread to others killing millions of people around the world before scientists found a vaccine to destroy it in 133 days preventing a global outbreak. But not before it kills 2.5 million people of the US and 26 million worldwide.

‘Contagion’ is praised by critics for its real drama. The human aspects of the film come to forefront while scientific facts make the spectators aware of the deadly infectious nature of certain viruses. The story is told from different angles by a few characters and their behaviour crucially changes giving various outlooks of society towards unexpected chaotic situation.

Outbreak and science

The massive and highly laudable effort taken by scientists to research and terminate illnesses is another inspirational aspect of ‘Contagion’. The same heroic struggle factually continues nonstop in the field of science every passing day. China battles Coronavirus from every angle they can and they will win this as they did with SARS. `Contagion’ shows how human beings find ways to battle against strange phenomenon that poses them imminent dangers.

Cassandra Crossing

Unlike ‘Cassandra Crossing’, a film that George Pan Cosmatos directed much earlier in 1976, ‘Contagion’ does not include a conspiracy against the infected. ‘Cassandra Crossing’, also evolves over a virus but it shows how the hierarchy of the power manipulates the unfortunate situation to hide the facts that were against them and even ready to massacre the victims for their advantage. Many blame Chinese administration for the spread of coronavirus too.

International filmmakers have created and are making films that show the future and the dangers it poses to the humankind. Diseases, apocalypses, natural disasters, extraterrestrial attacks, wars and many other imminent dangers continue to be film themes. Alien (1979) and its four sequels, 28 days later (2002), Flu (2013), It comes at night (2017), Cabin Fever (2016), and Quarantine (2008) are but a few of such films.


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