How to Survive a Plague

  • Film
  • Documentaries

‘It’s like living in a war. All around you friends are dropping dead.’ In the 1980s, Aids swept New York like a tornado. Security guards beat up dying men at hospital doors. Bodies of the dead were bagged up in bin liners. This painful, beautiful doc chronicles the fightback. It’s the story of how a group of young people (most of them men) changed history through protest – speeding up the arrival of effective drug treatments.

These guys filmed everything. There’s the artist dressed up as Jesus (‘Make your second coming a safe one! Use a condom!’). Later we see him blind and close to death at 26. The image of his thin, dying face competes for most heartbreaking scene with the 1992 demo where grieving families and lovers scatter the ashes of their dead at the White House. Do you think you’ll live to see a cure, they’re asked? No, most say. But, like soldiers, they fight for others. These men are incredible characters, including an ex-Wall Street bond trader turned self-educated Aids expert who out-sciences the scientists. It can’t be long before we see the Hollywood version.

Release details

Rated: no cert
Release date: Friday November 8 2013
Duration: 110 mins

Cast and crew

Director: David France
Screenwriter: David France, Todd Woody Richman
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