Jacob Eriksen

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Epidemic Review


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In this film, two contemporary, young Danish men (played by Epidemic's screenwriter Niels Vørsel and writer/director Lars von Trier) set out, under pressure from their prospective producers and under a killing deadline, to write a screenplay about the title ailment, a mysterious and highly contagious illness characterized chiefly by the horrible, bloody demise it brings about within days. In that film, which we're treated to in doses, an idealistic young doctor named Mesmer sets out from the unnamed, sometime-in-the-20th-century, and still uninfected City for the outlying Infected Areas to provide treatment for those already afflicted. Fate plays an awful trick on our filmmakers, though: as work progresses on their film, an actual epidemic sweeps Europe, one strangely like that about which they're writing.

You know from the start that all will not turn out well; among the first scenes is a tour of the filmmakers' apartment in which the furniture is upended and the walls are smeared with blood. 1988's Epidemic chronicles the fateful few days in which the apartment's inhabitants simultaneously complete their film treatment and succumb to this plague.

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