Hilde the Missionary Nun (Olympia Dukakis) narrates three separates stories, each directly concerning the A.I.D.S. crisis. From a Montréal based order, Hilde the Missionary Nun, Mary the Nun (Sandra Oh), and Clara the Novice (Chloë Sevigny) have just arrived in South Africa to work as nurses in a plantation's medical center. They learn that legend there has it that having sex with a virgin will transfer infection out from oneself. Because of this legend, an infant girl is raped. Clara, who also learns the main cause of the virus' spread within the plantation, does whatever she can to ensure that Hallyday, the Plantation Owner (Ian Roberts), flexes his economic power to right the wrongs on the plantation. Back in Montréal, Denys, the Porn Actor (Shawn Ashmore), has been cheating on his mandatory monthly H.I.V. tests, using his father's blood to pass as his own. As he believes he has been exposed to the virus, the negative results will allow him to continue working. When he is caught, ...Written by
1st watched 4/3/2014 – 7 out of 10(Dir-Thom Fitzgerald): *reviewed version is Director's cut of app. 128 minutes* Powerful group of 3 stories centering around a spreading virus in three distinct cultures that isn't mentioned as being AIDS, but it's definitely implied. What makes this Canadian movie work is seeing the love displayed by the other folk who are watching the torment from the outside and doing whatever it takes to help ease the pain of the suffering ones. The first story doesn't actually begin until a prologue to what will eventually be the final story – but I think it is the strongest, with Lucy Liu playing a woman who sets up blood intake centers in an impoverished Asian nation only to find out that they are being infiltrated by sick donors who infect whole areas. A father played by Tanabadee Chokpikultong is the first one sick in his family, but ends up being the last survivor and performs amazing feats of sacrifice despite overwhelming feelings of sadness and sickness. The second story is about a male porn star who continues to work to support his mother and uncle despite the fact that he knows he is sick from something. The mother played by Stockard Channing decides to do her part after her uncle dies and she subsequently finds out what her son is doing and what he has. This part is set in Canada and involves an un-selfish action that is confusing that involves the mother but I believe the intent was to make her son's life more enjoyable while he is still alive. The final story attached with the prologue is narrated by a nun played by Olympia Dukakis giving it a slight documentary feel but is definitely slow going at first. It focuses on a group of nuns who are there to save souls primarily, but a younger nun played by Chloe Sevigny takes extreme measures on her own to keep a family together and safe from a local land owner. What these ordinary people do is not popular when you look at them from a legalized & moralized perspective but there is a greater good in mind by those who perform them. The movie ends by the asking the viewer if you could be one of those ordinary people(definitely not in a preachy way but in a compelling way). This film by Thom Fitzgerald is unique despite some slow parts primarily in the 3rd story and a slightly confusing 2nd story, but overall is a very good viewing, and worthwhile to the cause and to the moviegoer. ** Also viewed 125 minute Canadian version on 4/19/2014, still powerful but a couple of scenes cut out and edited differently where stories go back and forth more often, 2nd story is missing some important footage in this version, but it is closer to the original 123 minute Toronto International film festival version **
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