Those virus movies with a happy ending
Renewed interest in disaster movies and other novels
In recent months, with the appearance of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, the world of pop culture has also been impacted. Thus, in an attempt to halt the spread, some festivals have been cancelled, such as the book fair and the tourism fair. In France and Switzerland, events with a capacity of more than 1000 people have been suspended. Concerts or concert halls are therefore directly impacted. The great hall of the Philharmonie de Paris is closed and the Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne broadcasts its concerts only on television.
In Italy, where contamination is the highest in Europe, the book sector is in turmoil. Thus, La peste d’Albert Camus, a novel published in 1947, was sold in bookshops and became a best-seller of the moment.
“ Solo nel momento della sventura ci si abitua alla verità, cioè al silenzio ”. (“ C ‘is at the moment of misfortune that one gets used to the truth, that is to say at silence ”, an excerpt from The Plague) is often quoted on Twitter by Italians.
In addition to the French writer’s book, L’aveuglement du Portugais José Saramago also tops the sales charts for a novel. Better yet, it had been adapted into a movie. It is also highly sought-after on download platforms.
This is also the case for another genre film, Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, one of the most downloaded feature films on ITunes in recent months.
We must also add Plague Inc, a video game about a murderous plague. With each new pandemic, there is an increase in the number of players around the world. This is the case in China, where the plot takes place. He’s number 1 on the country’s App Store.
In order not to panic, we suggest you discover some of the locations of films or series on the theme of virus epidemics but which end well. They’re still not recommended for hypochondriacs.
Contagion (Steven Soderbergh – 2011)
Hong Kong International Airport Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), 1 Sky Plaza Rd, Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong
As a virus spreads at high speed around the world, Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns from a business trip to Hong Kong. She transited through this international airport and died shortly afterwards, as did her young son, while her husband seemed to be out of danger. She’s been identified as patient zero by epidemiologists.
Steven Soderbergh came up with the idea for this film when his screenwriter Scott Z. Burns and himself fell ill after a plane ride on the set of their previous film The Informant. As for the virus present in the plot, it would be inspired by the one spread in Malaysia in the 1990s and called Nipah. For the purposes of the scenario and for greater veracity, the two men surrounded themselves with pandemic experts.
I am a legend (Francis Lawrence – 2007)
House of Robert Neville
11 Washington Square North, New York, NY 10003, USA
Brilliant scientist, Robert Neville (Will Smith) is the last human being living in what remains of New York City after a virus devastated the human race. He issues daily distress calls from one of the piers at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in South Street Harbour.
Shot mainly in New York, Je suis une légende uses the city’s most emblematic monuments. Robert Neville lives in a typical and pretty house in Greenwich Village, whose basement has been converted into a laboratory. The only survivor of a New York City invaded by zombies resides in the second house of the block, almost opposite the famous triumphal arch in Washington Square Park. An amusing wink, this one was erected in 1826 on a former cemetery. The survivor keeps busy by day playing golf at Pier 86 on the USS Intrepid, now home to the Air and Space Museum, hunting in Times Square, fishing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the basin near the Dendur Temple, or going to the DVD rental store at 384 Lafayette Street every day. In the latter, which has now disappeared but whose facade is very recognizable, he talks with models in order to preserve a semblance of social life.
Every day, as he says in his radio calls, the main character waits in South Street Harbor, “when the sun is at its highest in the sky.” It is also here that he decides to attack the mutants in a kamikaze operation, the night after the loss of his dog Sam, his only companion in this devastated New York. He will be saved in extremis by the surprise arrival of Anna (Alice Braga). One of the most impressive scenes is about the Brooklyn Bridge. The shots of this one, including its explosion, required six nights of shooting and cost the production more than five million dollars. This is the most expensive sequence performed in New York!
Adapted from Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel of anticipation, I am a Legend relies on the expertise of scientists for more truthfulness. So Will Smith was trained in gestures by scientists at the Center for Disease Control (CDC). They also validated the quarantine procedures or the evacuation scenes of the population and more particularly that of the explosion of the Brooklyn Bridge. This scene required more than 1000 extras and took place over six nights. It is still the most expensive sequence shot in New York at the moment.
28 weeks later (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo – 2007)
Final shot of the film
Palais de Chaillot, 1 Place du Trocadéro and 11 November, 75016 Paris
While the rabies virus has decimated the population of the British Isles, the US military is landing after having deemed the danger to be overlooked in order to begin reconstruction. But while refugees are returning home, one of them is carrying the virus.
The final plan 28 weeks later takes place at the Palais de Chaillot. Tammy (Imogen Potts), Flynn (Harold Perrineau Jr.) and Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) meet in Paris. Spectators can also see the Eiffel Tower in the background or a horde of infected people in the metro corridors.
If the end of the film takes place in the French capital, the most important scenes were shot in London (Don’s apartment: 25 Bank St, Canary Wharf, London E14 5JP or Wembley Stadium). To create an apocalyptic vision of the city, the chief decorator was inspired in particular by the aftermath of Hurricane Katerina, which hit the United States in 2005.
Cornetto, Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright – 2004)
The Winchester Tavern (closed)
The Duke of Albany 39 Monson Rd, London SE14 5EQ, United Kingdom
The Winchester is Shaun and Ed’s favourite pub. They spend most of their time there when they’re not working or playing at the console. It is also where they take refuge with their friends when London is plagued by a zombie invasion.
The place was actually a bar at the time of shooting: The Duke of Albany. Unfortunately, the pub has since closed down and has been converted into housing. Perhaps the most attentive spectators will be able to recognize, among the zombies, the Coldplay singer, Chris Martin, walking down the street and passing a telephone booth. This is not his only appearance in the feature film, as he also plays himself at the end.
Problemos (Eric Judor – 2017)
Rosières, 07260 in Ardèche, France
The town of Rosières in Ardèche was used as a set for the film’s ZAD. This area to be defended is a community of inhabitants fighting against the construction of a water park. Parisians, Victor (Eric Judor) and his friend Jeanne (Célia Rosich) visit Jean-Paul (Michel Nabokoff) and settle there for a while. A few days later, they discover that the CRS surrounding the camp and the population have disappeared, victims of a virus. They would then be the last survivors on earth.
This post-apocalyptic comedy parodies the ZADs but also Nuit debout, circles of citizens who appeared in 2016. For the needs of the film, the French director’s teams chose Rosières. A place was needed not far from the small Ardèche town of 1200 inhabitants in order to completely cut off the Zadists from the world. So they found this place with a forest, a river and a large natural wall.
In addition to these five films, we recommend you watch the documentary series Pandemic. If it is anxiety-provoking, it brings glimmers of hope, especially when vaccines are discovered.
Pandemic (Elena Sorre and Veronika Adaskova – Netflix 2020)
“The voiceover of this documentary-fiction film, which has been released on Netflix since January 2020, solemnly announces that “the question is not whether a pandemic is coming, but when it will happen.
The six 50-minute episodes look back at pandemics throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The first section deals with the Spanish flu, the virus that has caused the most deaths to date, with between 50 and 100 million victims between 1918 and 1919.
Pandemic then looks back at the SARS outbreaks in 2002-2003 and the MERS outbreak in 2012. The series also features doctors or scientists working on possible vaccines.
If they’re scary, these films and series are just fiction. Don’t panic and take the time to (re)see them in order to discover small glimmers of hope in this moment of pandemic that is the coronavirus.
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LONDON map of 100 cult places (French Edition)
The London Fantrippers map, an original way to discover the British capital! Through 100 pop culture places, walk through its streets from another angle. Movies, TV shows, music, comics and novels, will allow you to spend a pleasant moment in the World City. With a folded format of 10 x 18 cm and an unfolded format of 60 x 54 cm, it slips easily into your pocket or your bag for easy reference.
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By Anthony Thibault
From the "Casimir generation", Anthony has kept (in addition to a passion for Goldorak) a taste for inventive images, experimentation and curiosity. Passionate about travel and pop culture, he co-founded Fantrippers with Nicolas Albert to share his passion with as many people as possible.