We Were Here
Time Out rating:
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says
Tue Nov 22 2011It’s 30 years since mentions of a ‘gay disease’ began appearing in the San Francisco press and the city’s gay community found itself entering a period of extended tragedy as Aids tore through its men, many of whom had moved to the city to pursue the post-hippy dream. ‘We came to San Francisco to be gay,’ says one interviewee. Another tells of the dream turning sour: ‘It was like a war zone…you never knew where the bomb was going to drop.’ This calm, arresting and moving documentary recalls that dreadful time in a simple, intimate fashion that only makes the story all the more real and affecting.
Director David Weissman interviews five people whose lives were affected by an illness which killed roughly 15,000 people in the city between the early 1980s and mid-1990s. They are Guy Clark, a flowerseller in the Castro; nurse Eileen Glutzer; Paul Boneberg, who founded Mobilization Against Aids; Ed Wolf, a counsellor; and HIV-positive artist Daniel Goldstein. There’s plenty of contextual archival material, and John Davis’s nude self-portraits are especially striking, but the film’s real power lies in the look in their eyes and stalling of their voices as they talk about their experiences and those they loved and lost. The rest is important, but these close-ups are the heart of this sober, devastating film about how we all – and some more than others – have to deal with the most unexpected horrors in our lives.
Author: Dave Calhoun