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AIDS: Monolith (1987)

A short and informative public service announcement that deals with the A.I.D.S. epidemic back in the 1980s destined to British audiences. Directed by Nicolas Roeg and with the voice of Sir... See full summary »


Nicolas Roeg


John Hurt




Credited cast:
John Hurt ... Narrator


A short and informative public service announcement that deals with the A.I.D.S. epidemic back in the 1980s destined to British audiences. Directed by Nicolas Roeg and with the voice of Sir John Hurt narrating facts about the disease, this short raised awareness to the public about A.I.D.S., and how to avoid it back in a time when anything related to the disease was considered a death sentence. Written by Rodrigo Amaro

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Featured in Back in Time for School: The 1980s (2019) See more »

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An important landmark on AIDS prevention campaigns
20 November 2018 | by Rodrigo_AmaroSee all my reviews

This public service announcement was an important and haunting commercial in UK on the AIDS virus back in the 1980's. I don't remember exactly when it was the first I saw it, possibly some documentary about it, but somehow it managed to stay in my head for a while, then I searched for the whole thing and read the commentaries posted on the video online, and the ones who lived in that period have vivid memories about that PSA, greatly narrated by the late John Hurt. What I recently discovered was that Nicolas Roeg ("Don't Look Now", "Walkabout" fame) was the man behind not only this memorable project but also "AIDS: Iceberg", dealing with same issue but with a different perspective.

1987 was the year and AIDS was in everyone's mouth either by its full name for those who contracted the disease or as the "horrible thing no one dares to speak" because it's a contagious disease spread by homosexuals, hemophiliacs and heroin addicts...and they all died back then when treatment was weak and ineffective. By that time, in UK it was reaching alarming numbers the number of contaminated victims and death tolls but with PSA's like that, they made the public aware of how it was its form of contagious, how to protect himself and avoid it. The "Monolith" is presented by a man scarving the letters that form AIDS in this huge monolith while Hurt's deep voice makes us immersed in what it is and how to avoid it. And it ends with a epitaph that shows "Don't Die of Ignorance". I guess the main thing is not that exactly. It's more like don't live with ignorance, since it's not just about those who die because they aren't aware of AIDS and are easily exposed to it but also the ones who haven't heard it - only people living in seclusion or really obtuse to know it back then, guess one can say the same about people now since the numbers of HIV/AIDS case had come to an increase due to ignorance since they haven't knew the disease back when it was a death sentence with victims losing weight, sight or having KS lesiosn all over their bodies. Now, there's medicine post exposure and stuff but it differs from country to country - some of it are available for free, or others have a high cost (not worthy in any case since the side effects are painful to endure for a month just because one wants to have an unprotected night out).

Roeg's short is a scary, informative and memorable project that makes us look back with despair for the time AIDS was a key issue ignored by most, plagued millions then and now, and how things turned out to be different with effective treatments that made the disease manageable instead of a death sentence. That was then and this is now...a reflective look back into the past but if you avoid it, don't protect yourself and keep on risking it by being ignorant or avoiding it, well...it'll become just like it was in the 1980's early 1990's. Don't die of ignorance, stay safe and if happening by accident or not find ways to get treated. It doesn't kill like it used to, but without treatment it's death for sure and until one reaches that it's not pretty, not easy, and without mercy. 9/10

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January 1987 (UK) See more »

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