Week 12 Reading Response – Joe Viola

In his article “AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism,” Douglas Crimp initiates conversation about the AIDS epidemic in the United States by discussing the reluctance of the general people and government to openly talk about the disease in hopes of raising awareness and thus finding a cure. Crimp draws allusions to similar situations throughout history, even quoting the ignorance of an earlier cholera epidemic through “disease does not exist.” From this starting point, Crimp leads into the discussion of art in its relationship with the politics of AIDS. He argues for the power of video and television and art to create discourses towards the prevention for AIDS. This is an important notion to bring up, and as art students in a queer cinema class, it is one that we can relate to personally and fight for on a larger scale (i.e. raising awareness for an otherwise overlooked cause), whether it be through blatant propaganda films or more subtle metaphorical ones. I have seen a few Almodovar films before, the most recent being Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and I always admired his ability to work with the homonormativity of queer people’s lives, which I think is a powerful tool in terms of drawing larger audiences into “queer” art; simply depicting the “normal” lives of such people in a way that doesn’t seem artificial or “preachy.” I’m curious as to Almodovar’s approach in All About My Mother, since it deals more specifically with queer issues than some of his other works.

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