«It was the end of 1984 and it was a friend who had gone to Mexico, and everyone said he had caught the flu – he died two weeks later and I was shocked,» Moore said.
Later on Moore, whose best known films include Magnolia and The Hours, came to help care for a friend with AIDS at a care unit in New York.
«By 1985 a lot of people I knew were sick … and by ’88 I was caring for somebody in a ward … I saw this movie and was so incredibly moved,» she said.
The film delves into how nurses who saw a rise in patients with the condition decided to set up a care centre, dismayed by the lack of humanity many were shown at the time.
Cliff Morrison – one of the driving forces behind the treatment centre where the staff ignored ideas of clinical detachment and had physical contact with patients – said fear about the epidemic and suspicion about how it spread was one of the hurdles carers had to deal with.
«All of a sudden I found myself at a cocktail party and someone asked me what I did and everyone just spread back,» Harrison said as he discussed the film with Moore.
Dan Krauss, who co-directed the film with Paul Haggis, said 5B had a message for viewers.
«It’s about compassion and it’s about dignity and it’s about respect,» Krauss said.
«If we can inject that into the national conversation inside the United States and elsewhere, I think we will have accomplished something needed right now.»
Every year, movie stars, models and the super rich attend a major HIV-AIDS fundraising event during the Cannes Film Festival, the AmfAR dinner, put on by the US-based Foundation For AIDS Research.
This year’s event on May 23 comes after an HIV-positive man in Britain became the second known adult worldwide to be cleared of the AIDS virus, according to his doctors, after he received a bone marrow transplant from an HIV-resistant donor.