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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

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.