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lockdown cinema that ironically will make you feel better about lockdown

The end of what feels like endless lockdown in the UK, where I live, is getting close. Things will slowly starting to open up over the coming weeks and months. (Pubs and restaurants can start serving outside in mid-April! Hooray!) If vaccinations continue apace — I got my first jab this week! — and COVID-19 cases continue to fall, we’re promised that all social restrictions could be lifted as early as June 21st.

I. Cannot. Wait. I’m going crazy staring at little more than the same four walls for the past year, and the returns from my daily walk are rapidly diminishing. (I’m tired of the same old streets and parks, now, too.)

Of course, movies have helped me cope with the sensory and social deprivation of our pandemic year… and not always the ones that are escapist. One of the first films I turned to last spring, as so many others did, is 2011’s all-star disease-disaster flick Contagion. I’ve watched it a couple more times since — in the same way that little kids will watch the same scary cartoon over and over again, as a way to master their fears — and I’ve found it oddly soothing. I was impressed with this solid medical-mystery procedural a decade ago, but now, as authentic and as realistic as it is, it’s reassuring to see that our actual pandemic, while awful, hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as the one in the film. Contagion has looting in supermarkets; we only had toilet-paper and pasta hoarding.

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