18 user 13 critic

Zero Patience (1993)

An immortal, bigoted, unethical taxidermist is doing research on "Patient Zero", the gay flight attendant who allegedly was the first to bring AIDS to North America, for a museum show about contagious diseases, helped by the man's ghost.


John Greyson


John Greyson
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
John Robinson John Robinson ... Sir Richard Francis Burton
Normand Fauteux Normand Fauteux ... Zero
Dianne Heatherington Dianne Heatherington ... Mary
Richardo Keens-Douglas Richardo Keens-Douglas ... George
Bernard Behrens ... Dr. Placebo
Marla Lukofsky ... African Green Monkey
Michael Callen Michael Callen ... Miss HIV
Charlotte Boisjoli ... Maman
Brenda Kamino ... Dr. Cheng
Von Flores ... Ray
Scott Hurst Scott Hurst ... Michael
Duncan McIntosh Duncan McIntosh ... Ross
Cassel Miles Cassel Miles ... Barry
Benjamin Plener ... Ted
Ann Medina Ann Medina ... Narrator (voice)


The ghost of Zero - "patient zero", who allegedly first brought aids to Canada - materialises and tries to contact old friends. Meanwhile, the Victorian explorer Sir Richard Burton, who drank from the Fountain of Youth and now works as Chief Taxidermist at the Toronto Natural history Museum, is trying to organise an Aids Exhibition ... Written by Michael Crew <m.crew@bbcnc.org.uk>

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Did You Know?


[Foreword] In 1987, newspapers around the world accused a Canadian flight attendant of bringing AIDS to North America. They called him "Patient Zero". See more »


Referenced in The New Eve (1999) See more »


Six Or Seven Things
Vocals by Normand Fauteux and John Robinson
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User Reviews

Exotic Fruit
13 December 2004 | by james-hunter-stewartSee all my reviews

One of those totally surprising contributions that remind us that there are still film-makers with talent and originality out there.

This Canadian film is hard to classify - it's costume drama, romance, Broadway musical, ghost story, mocumentary, educational film, puppet show, and political soap-box all at the same time.

It tells the story of the noted Victorian sexologist Richard Francis Burton (still alive after an unfortunate encounter with the fountain of youth) and Patient Zero, the man who, according to the media beat-up, brought AIDS to North America. After three years dead, Zero returns (not quite to life) to clear his name, but the only person who can see him is Burton, who wants to use his story as the centre-piece of his banal 'Hall of Contagion' exhibition.

Nineteenth century attitudes collide with twentieth century morality. Things get really sticky when the local AIDS activists weigh into the argument ...

Gorgeous original score, singing bottoms, dancing (stuffed) animals, talking viruses, synchronised swimming, a chorus of naked men, taxidermy! - there's something in this film for everyone.

Funny, bizarre, devastatingly sad - this three-tune-musical-on-film has got everything, though not everyone will cope with the grown-up content and highly theatrical treatment.

Exotic fruit indeed: witty, subtle, and not-so-subtle, with lots to think about - well worth seeing, and not only as a rare example of how to make a musical work on film.

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Canada | UK


English | French

Release Date:

5 August 1994 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Zero Patience See more »


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Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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