×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Pandemic: Facing AIDS

There is no shortage of fear and heartache in HBO's candid docu series "Pandemic: Facing AIDS." Director Rory Kennedy's frank look at individuals around the world who have contracted the disease eschews politics and agendas while focusing strictly on the victims, their deterioration and, considering the countries she visits, their lack of any socialized, significant care whatsoever.

With:
Narrator: Elton John.

There is no shortage of fear and heartache in HBO’s candid docu series “Pandemic: Facing AIDS.” Director Rory Kennedy’s frank look at individuals around the world who have contracted the disease eschews politics and agendas while focusing strictly on the victims, their deterioration and, considering the countries she visits, their lack of any socialized, significant care whatsoever.

Whereas many AIDS projects often go out of their way to include hope and spirit, the five-part “Pandemic,” narrated by Elton John, is comparatively depressing on all accounts at all times. There are touching moments — a woman returns home from a hospice to see her family one last time, a Ugandan couple gets tested and results come back negative — but cabler’s latest Sunday entry is wholly difficult and devastating to view.

First hour has two episodes; in Thailand, where the sex trade flourishes and where for years the government denied there was a health crisis, ex-prostitute Lek is spending her last few weeks in a monastery while literally holding on to old photos she has saved. Now among others who are trying to die in peace, she makes one last trek in order to say goodbye to her mother, father and son.

Second half-hour travels to Uganda, where an orphanage is overflowing with poor children whose parents have died. Most poignant scene comes when their overworked teacher leads them in an AIDS anthem that easily brings out everybody’s tears.

Kennedy doesn’t utilize any distinctive techniques, but the subject matter is handled with utmost sensitivity, and her message hits home with authority: The problem is truly global and tragedy knows no limits. (Future nights spotlight Russia, India and Brazil.) Co-funded by Bill Gates’ philanthropic foundation, “Pandemic” features a haunting original score by Philip Glass.

Pandemic: Facing AIDS

Production: Filmed in various locations by Moxie Firecracker Films, HBO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Producers, Rory Kennedy, Liz Garbus; director, Kennedy; writer, Mark Bailey.

Crew: Camera, Nick Doob; Tom Hurwitz; editor, Kate Amend; music, Philip Glass, Miriam Cutler. 30 MIN.

Cast: Narrator: Elton John.

More TV

  • LIVE IN FRONT OF A STUDIO

    TV Review: ABC's Live 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons'

    In retrospect, it was only a matter of time before reboot and revival fever manifested as verbatim repeats — but if TV’s gonna go there, bringing back eerily timely shows like “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” is the way to do it. That Norman Lear’s comedies are timely, or at least prescient, is [...]

  • WGA Agents Packaging Fight Placeholder

    Judge in Writers Guild Suit Against Agencies Replaced Again

    Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elaine W. Mandel has replaced Craig D. Karlan to handle the Writers Guild of America’s lawsuit against Hollywood’s four major talent agencies. Mandel was appointed Wednesday. She is the third judge assigned to the case, which was filed April 17 by the WGA against CAA, WME, UTA and ICM Partners [...]

  • Andy Cohen Desperate Housewives E

    TV News Roundup: Bravo Announces First Ever BravoCon

    In today’s roundup, Bravo announces its first ever BravoCon and the trailer for the fourth season of “Queen Sugar” dropped.  DATES The buddy comedy “Partners in Wine,” starring Lauren White and Jasmine Curry, will be available for streaming on Amazon Tuesday, May 28. It follows best friends Mia and Anne, who support, challenge, and judge [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Agencies Offer to Restart Talks With WGA to End Packaging Fee Standoff

    Hollywood’s largest talent agencies have offered to restart negotiations with the WGA to end the standoff over the guild’s effort to impose new rules on talent agents. In a letter to WGA West president David Goodman sent Wednesday, UTA co-president Jay Sures extended an olive branch and suggested resuming talks next week. UTA later sent [...]

  • Martin Short

    Martin Short Joins Whitney Cummings, Lee Daniels Amazon Comedy Pilot 'Good People'

    The cast of the Amazon comedy pilot “Good People” continues to grow, with Martin Short becoming the latest big name star to sign on to the project. Short joins previously announced cast members Lisa Kudrow, Greg Kinnear, and Whitney Cummings. Cummings is also writing and executive producing the pilot with Lee Daniels. “Good People” centers [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content