If only we were as vigilant at finding a vaccine than we are at making end-of-the-world movies…
While the nation was stuck at home, Canadian director, Mostafa Keshvari, was stuck in an elevator when inspiration hit – why not make a movie about the current pandemic? Aptly titled, Corona, when asked about the conception of the project, he tells The Hollywood Reporter,
“The idea came to me when I was in an elevator reading news about Chinese tourists being attacked, and I thought I’m going to make a movie in an elevator.”
Groundbreaking… But in all seriousness, the movie has already been edited and has gone through all final amendments, most likely making it the first Covid-19 related film to hit the theatres (that’s if it’s legible for a wide release).
The film’s overarching theme is exploring racism and xenophobia during the pandemic. Since the virus originated from China, many people ’round the world have started behaving differently and aggressively towards the Chinese. It is evident from Chinese businesses being shutdown or vandalised and the Chinese being spit on or bullied in public. Even Keshvari noticed the vitriol toward his fellow Chinese-Canadians in Vancouver.
Corona follows 6 people in an elevator during the infancy stage of the Covid-19 viral outbreak. The 6 quickly begin to suspect the 7th person, a Chinese woman, of having the disease as soon as she steps into the elevator. The concept is very reminiscent of M. Night Shyamalan’s 2010 thriller, Devil, but instead of an evil entity plaguing the inhabitants of the elevator, Corona’s evil is a deadly virus and engrained racism.
The film employs shaky-cam aesthetics due to the handheld realism that Keshvari was aiming for. The characters lines were mostly improvised from a skeleton script and the director believes this injects a sense of true panic and horror on the screen. He says,
“You see the rawness of the characters. They talk over each other and their fear becomes real.”
Initially, Keshvari was unaware of the potential of Covid-19, for he believed it would be contained before becoming a pandemic. But now that it has spread across the world, his message of anti-racism becomes even stronger. It shows that the virus does not discriminate and that us as a human race should not as well.
Stifled by the global lockdown, a wide theatre release is improbable. Despite that, Keshvari is hoping to release his feature as soon as he can, which is why he aims for streaming.
Maybe we’ll get to watch this movie soon and we can see if Keshvari truly captures the explosive hysteria of humans and the serious repercussions of it or if Corona is just another timely cash-grab. Place your bets in the comments!
Here is the trailer for Corona:
For more news, choose JUICE.