We Were Here Movie Review

Almost overwhelming in its emotional kick, this documentary about the San Francisco Aids epidemic is so intensely personal that it's sometimes difficult to watch. Which is why it's so important.

Speaking with five people who lived through the arrival of Aids in the late-70s and the devastation of the 80s and early 90s, filmmaker Weissman paints an intimate portrait of what it felt like to live through a time when virtually all of your friends suddenly died around you. And in the early days, it was completely inexplicable. As America's religious right shouted hatred and pushed for violent political intervention (like quarantines), the gay community reached out with creative compassion, crossing barriers within the subculture.

This unfussy doc never hides or exploits the emotions of these five witnesses.

Ed is a counsellor who sat with thousands of men as they died. Eileen is a nurse who defied fear to care for her patients. Daniel is an artist who watched helplessly as two partners died. Guy is a florist who watched the neighbourhood reel with pain. And Paul hitchhiked to San Francisco in to join the "crazy dreamers" before tragedy descended all around him. Those years were like a warzone to them all: "We never knew where the bomb was going to drop next."

Intriguingly, only one of these people talks about their own experience as an Aids patient; the other men seem a little shocked that they survived at all, since everyone they knew grew horribly ill and died. "Survival isn't courageous," one says. Filmed in their homes, the interviews often catch them on the verge of tears. Fortunately, they're also sharp, interesting people who have a hopeful perspective on life, so they undercut the film's maudlin tone with humour, telling observations and a terrific wealth of reminiscences.

Illustrating this is an astonishing range of photographs and home movies that show us both the happy times and the horror of diseases that came along with Aids. The film also touches heavily on the political issues, from community attitudes on promiscuity to the fight for recognition and equality. And of course for research into fighting Aids. Watching this is seriously wrenching, but it also makes sure we never forget what happened in this specific place.

And hopefully keep it from ever happening again.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer :

Starring : Paul Boneberg, Guy Clark, Eileen Glutzer, Daniel Goldstein, Ed Wolf


Comments

We Were Here Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: E, 2011

Editors Recommendations

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

The Cannes Film festival is sneaking up fast. The Oscars felt like they were 8 minutes ago...

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

Next weekend's CounterPoint Festival will be the event's first year at a new 5000-acre site, featuring...

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Superhero movies have been striving towards the almost unobtainable goal set...

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Ricky Gervais is "Hooked" on David Brent Again - Former Paper Merchant To Return

A return for David Brent has been mooted ever since the character was wheeled...

Ricky Gervais is

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing "Made In America" To Downtown Los Angeles

Jay Z and the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti have announced that the rapper’s...

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing

Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

The editor-in-chief of US VOGUE magazine is reportedly determined for the annual...

Anna Wintour - Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

'Mrs Doubtfire' Sequel Will Be Made 21 Years After The Original

The comedy classic 'Mrs. Doubtfire' is reportedly set to return to the big-screen...

'Mrs Doubtfire' Sequel Will Be Made 21 Years After The Original

'Of Mice And Men' Brings Out Broadway Talents Of James Franco, Chris O'Dowd

Of Mice And Men premiered on Broadway last night, giving critics a chance to cast...

'Of Mice And Men' Brings Out Broadway Talents Of James Franco, Chris O'Dowd

Sofia Vergara On Her Menage a Trois in Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo'

Sofia Vergara has been speaking about her nerves at shooting a ménage a trois with...

Sofia Vergara On Her Menage a Trois in Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo'


More recommendations