Zero Patience

John Greyson and Triptych Media Inc.

1994, 85:00 minutes, colour, English


Zero Patience is a 1993 Canadian musical film written and directed by John Greyson. The film examines and refutes the urban legend of the alleged introduction of HIV to North America by a single individual, Gaëtan Dugas. Dugas, better known as Patient Zero, was tagged in the popular imagination with the blame in large measure because of Randy Shilts's history of the early days of the AIDS epidemic, And the Band Played On (1987). The film tells its story against the backdrop of a romance between a time-displaced Sir Richard Francis Burton and the ghost of "Zero" (the character is not identified by Dugas' name).

Produced in partnership with the Canadian Film Centre, the Canada Council, Telefilm Canada and the Ontario Film Development Corporation, Zero Patience opened to mixed reviews but went on to win a number of prestigious Canadian film awards. The film has been the subject of critical attention in the context of both film theory and queer theory and is considered part of the informal New Queer Cinema movement.

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Critical Writing

The Genealogical Pedagogy of John Greyson's Zero Patience:...
by Roger Hallas. Canadian Journal of Film Studies, Spring 2003, v. 12, no. 1.
After 1980: Margins and Mainstreams: Cutting-edge books on gay and...
by Julianne Pidduck. Now You See It, 2002. London: Routledge, 2002.
20 years film: The filmmakers
by Susan King. Now, Oct. 25, 2001, v. 21, no. 8.
The Straight Story: The filmmakers
by David Livingstone. Elm Street, Sept. Fall 2000.
John Greyson's The Law of Enclosures: The filmmakers
by Cynthia Amsden. Take One, Fall 2000, no. 29.
Jon Greyson, an Uncut above: Inside Out has something for (almost)...
by Liam Lacey. The Globe and Mail, May 30, 1997.
Less Griping More Groping: Inside Out has something for (almost)...
by John Greyson. Canadian Dimension, 1997, v. 31, no. 3.
Time travelling: Inside Out has something for (almost) everyone
by Gemma Files. EYE WEEKLY, Oct. 24, 1996.
The sound of questions: Zealley speaks with John Greyson
by Gillian Morton. Xtra!, Feb. 18, 1994, no. 242.
Disease that dares to sing and dance its name
by Rick Groen. The Globe and Mail, Feb. 25, 1994.
Zero Patience: AIDS Activism: The Musical
by Craig MacInnis. The Toronto Star, Feb. 25, 1994.
The music of Zero Patience: AIDS Activism: The Musical
by John Greyson and Glenn Shellenberg. Now, Feb. 23, 1994, v. 13, no. 25.
Director disrupts AIDS certainties with Zero Patience: Hammering...
by Cameron Bailey. Now, Feb. 23, 1994, v. 13, no. 26.
Greyson Uses Creative Anachronism to Question Myths: Hammering at...
by Steve Kokker. The Georgia Straight, Oct. 1, 1993.
John Greyson's musical about AIDS won't upset fans who expect fun:...
by Kate Fillion. The Globe and Mail, Nov. 27, 1993.
Festival Honours Native film maker: Kanehsatake documentary named...
by Christopher Harris. The Globe and Mail, Sept. 20 Spring, 1993.
Screen Gems and Screen Trends: The Festival of Festivals has lots...
by Jeremy Podeswa. Xtra!, Sept. 3, 1993, no. 231.