DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

 
WE WERE HERE (directors: David Weissman/Bill Weber; cinematographer: Marsha Kahm; editor: Bill Weber; music: Holcombe Waller; Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: David Weissman; Red Flag; 2011)

"A very moving and heartfelt documentary that acts as an historical record for a time when the AIDS epidemic was a nightmare for the gay community."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

David Weissman and Bill Weber co-direct a detailed and urgent film about San Francisco's gay Castro Street from the 1970s to the present, as the filmmakers dedicate the film to those who died and let those who survived the AIDS epidemic serve as their spokesmen. The no-nonsense sobering work that shows no hints of mawkishness uses archival footage, tons of photos and interviews with five main individuals (Ed Wolf, Paul Boneberg, Daniel Goldstein, Guy Clark and Eileen Glutzer) who were there, and they relate their personal experiences. Some of what they have to say is very sad, as they tell us so many died since the time the disease was revealed to the public in 1981 that it seemed like a war zone and that shockingly by the early eighties half the SF gay community was infected with HIV. By the 1990s the community that was hit first and hardest by AIDS learned how to live with it and the survivors relate their heavy feelings of loss for all their friends who didn't survive.

A very moving and heartfelt documentary that acts as an historical record for a time when the AIDS epidemic was a nightmare for the gay community and reveals a time when some in America, like sicko right-wing Christians and other homophobic extremists, demonized the gays and wanted punitive measures taken against them. But it also shows how the SF gay community came together during the AIDS epidemic and offered unconditional love and comfort for all the victims.

REVIEWED ON 10/31/2011       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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