Deadly swine fever is ravaging China’s pork industry

This piece by Amy Gunia in Time has me thinking, how would this be a film?


There are many interesting details that could imagine in a plot. The first is the sheer scale of China’s pork consumption. How much environmental damage is that causing? Not to mention the amount of suffering involved in rearing and killing of so many animals? Both of those element are interesting, but nothing more than background to something else.

The thing that really stands out is African Swine Fever, a virus with no cure. The obvious plot would centre around the mutation of this incurable virus, one that jumps the species barrier, and infects humans.

Steven Soderbergh ploughed this same furrow in Contagion (2011). In his film the CDC tries to stop the spread of a deadly flu virus. Soderbergh’s movie stops short of the full apocalyptic seen in Fukkatsu no hi (1980). In Kinji Fukasaku’s film most of the planet’s population have been wiped out by a virus, leaving only an isolated group, surviving in the frozen wastes of Antarctica, to try an find a cure.

I’ve always found survivors in the aftermath of an apocalypse compelling. With the trappings of civilisation gone, what do we become?

I’m reminded of Margaret Atwood‘s novel MaddAddam (2013). When a plague kills most of the worlds population, a group of survivors try to rebuild civilisation alongside Crakers, a species of post-humans, bioengineered to survive the plague.

There’s something in the existence of both human and post-human. There’s an inherent conflict between nature and nurture, instinct and conditioning, that is ripe for exploration.

I have the opening and a revelation at the end of a story. A group of human survivors flee though the wasteland of a city, chased by bioengineered post-humans, perfectly designed to thrive in this harsh new world. How do the humans survive when their pursuers are like a pack of wolves chasing Elke? There’s plenty of opportunities for action, horrific violence, and bloody scares. In the closing moments, we realise our group of survivors are actually a hunting party. They stalked the tribe of post-humans, and killed one for food. The post-humans are simply trying to drive these predators out of their territory.


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