Zero Patience is set against the background of the AIDS crisis during the 1980s. The film goes on to examine and contests the urban legend of “Patient Zero” – Gaëtan Dugas – who was allegedly held to be responsible for bringing AIDS to Canada.
Sir Richard Francis Burton (John Robinson) is 170 years old thanks to a misadventure at the Fountain of Youth in 1892. He is the most high-ranking taxidermist at the Museum of Natural History in Toronto; and is in search of a 0centrepiece for a display in the Hall of Contagion. He strikes up with the idea of highlighting AIDS and the Patient Zero theory. He sets about collecting video footage from all those who knew Zero in support of this theory.
When Burton finds Zero’s doctor (Brenda Kamino), mother (Charlotte Boisjoli) and former colleague Mary (Dianne Heatherington) unwilling to help him in supporting the theory, he finds an unlikely ally in the ghost of Zero (Normand Fauteux) who he runs into. The deal is that Burton must find a way to make the ghost appear visible to others (only Burton can see the ghost) in return for the ghost’s help in putting the exhibit material together.
A romance also develops between Burton and the ghost. After stealing Zero’s medical records, Burton and Zero’s ghost make a discovery that clears Zero’s name. The exhibit, though, remains incomplete and is replaced by the museum curator with an original presentation.
“Greyson has produced a film which engages your mind as much as your heart, and leaves you laughing.”
“Zero Patience, John Greyson’s audacious film musical about AIDS, bubbles with so many ideas that it has the feel of several movies compressed into an unwieldy if stimulating Brechtian revue.”
— Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“John Greyson’s new feature is a cheekily agitating “AIDS musical.” Juggling MTV-style numbers, intellectual in-jokes and very sexual politics.”
— Dennis Harvey, Variety
Did You Know?
In the film Zero Patience Ann Medina, who is a TV journalist in real life, makes a brief appearance as a television reporter. Also look out for composer Glenn Schellenberg who took on an additional role as an actor. His small part is that of a bathhouse attendant. Review our Gay Themed Films Here