Diseases are very much a part and parcel of life as we know it on this planet. Despite that, there is an unwillingness to confront them in their devastation and suffering, unless they are afflicted themselves. It can be argued that this near-universal reluctance to engage with diseases on a more compassionate level boils down to increasing human apathy over countless millennia. Psychology, sociology, and human ethics are fascinating disciplines in their own right, and they would elaborate on this great dilemma of diseases knowledgeably. However, this article would like to make the role of cinema pertinent in this discerning matter, as it deserves.
Cinema, when presented in an aesthetically pleasing way, appeals more to us than perhaps any other known art form. When one chooses to watch a creative endeavour onscreen, they surrender themselves to flights of fancy. Of boundless possibilities.
There have been movies made about pompe disease, lou gehrig’s disease, lyme disease, alzeheimer’s and many other horrible diseases. When works with such power choose to confront and analyse a dilemma such as all the diseases in the world, they guide us, the viewers, in knowing about them, and if it is great cinema, they also help us in empathising with those who suffer. This is true especially for those who are agonised by horrendous afflictions, removed from the typical and mainstream which are excruciating in their own way. To inspire such humane insight is beyond mere words. To instill a sense of awareness without any bias is a noble aim. The following is the list of top movies about diseases do just that. Some of these films are about disease outbreak, whereas others are about infectious disease. You can watch some of these disease movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
10. Music by Prudence (2010)
‘Music by Prudence’ focuses on Zimbabwean band Liyana, and its inspirational members. Prudence Mahbena is Liyana’s founder, from whom this documentary short takes its name. Prudence was born disabled, and in her village, any and all diseases and disabilities were considered to an ill omen. Children suffering from such disorders and diseases were mostly abandoned, with the villagers unable to get out of their myopic mindsets.
This was indeed the norm, until Prudence came along. She formed Liyana with seven other brilliantly talented members, all of whom were either born disabled or suffered from serious diseases such as muscular dystrophy. Through their soul-stirring performances, Liyana inspired those very people who had rejected them before, and showed to the world that, in Prudence’s own words, “disability does not mean inability.” Directed by Roger Ross Williams, ‘Music by Prudence’ won numerous accolades, including the 2009 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject), all deservedly so.