We Were Here

"Excellent"

We Were Here 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.



We Were Here

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 1st September 2011

Distributed by: Independent Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 41

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

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

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.