Portrayal of AIDS
The film Yesterday was a very compelling movie that made me think further on several different topics, the most dominant topic being that of AIDS. The plot of the film focuses around Yesterday’s realization of and coping with the fact that she has AIDS, however, the actual word “AIDS” is only explicitly said one time during the film (that I caught, please point out another time it is said, if I am incorrect…), when Yesterday is telling the school teacher about a young girl a few villages away who contracted it and her village killed her for it. In each scene where “AIDS” would most likely have been said, it was indirectly filmed, cut out completely, or altered in some way. For example, when Yesterday is at the clinic the first time, the doctor is obviously concerned about something in particular and yet doesn’t say exactly what. This may be understandable, but when Yesterday returns to the clinic after her blood samples have been examined, the scene in which the doctor would explicitly tell Yesterday that she has AIDS is cut out completely, and we go straight to a scene of Yesterday’s facial reaction to the news that we are meant to assume. Additionally, when Yesterday goes to the mines in Johannesburg to inform her husband of the news, the scene of them speaking to each other (before he begins to beat her) is filmed indirectly, from outside the room, where we can’t hear what they are saying to each other, but once again we are meant to assume the word AIDS is used. Finally, when Yesterday is telling the teacher about the doctor’s diagnosis, both of them only refer to it as “the virus”, never explicitly as AIDS until she is speaking about the girl killed in another village. I believe this is a purposeful decision made by the director/screenwriter of the film, in order to convey the fear and possibly the lack of knowledge related to AIDS in South Africa. I also think it was done so that the focus of the film would not be predominantly on the disease itself but on Yesterday’s life and journey instead.
What are your thoughts?