Review – We Were Here

We Were Here

David Weissman & Bill Webe

2011, USA

A personal exploration of the AIDS crises in San Francisco from the viewpoint of five different people who were active in the community from the beginning of the epidemic.

A documentary about AIDS comes with many preconceptions, but the cold facts speak for themselves. The statistics are for all to see and it is a story that isn’t told enough. This film does the story justice.  The interviewees were clearly chosen very carefully to represent various viewpoints of the outbreak. We have the nurse trying to find cures, the flower seller reacting to the horror around him, the campaigner waging war with the government and they do well to paint us a picture of the carnage right from the beginning.  The most touching and poignant part of the film was how it showed a community, in the face of what was fundamentally a plague, coming together to assist and support the people they loved. We see people that a high percentage of the public, the so-called moral majority of the time would have seen, and still see as outsiders, as people living a life that deserves such retribution (and as seen in the film, deserve to be tattooed to show the world their sins) behaving with extreme care and love that would make even the most bigoted of us think again.

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