We Were Here (2011)
We Were Here documents the coming of what was called the "Gay Plague" in the early 1980s. It illuminates the profound personal and community issues raised by the AIDS epidemic as well as the broad political and social upheavals it unleashed. It offers a cathartic validation for the generation that suffered through, and responded to, the onset of AIDS. It opens a window of understanding to those who have only the vaguest notions of what transpired in those years. It provides insight into what society could, and should, offer its citizens in the way of medical care, social services, and community support. -- (C) Official Site … More
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Critic Reviews for We Were Here
A simple, powerful act of bearing witness, We Were Here is a sober reminder of the not-too-distant past, when gays were focused not on honeymoon plans but on keeping people alive.
[A] sober, devastating film about how we all - and some more than others - have to deal with the most unexpected horrors in our lives.
There's something profoundly inspirational about this portrait of a community coming together to battle prejudice and disease.
"We Were Here" pays eloquent homage to men and women who deserve to be celebrated and remembered as heroes.
The most gripping war movie you'll see this year, We Were Here tells first-hand the story of how AIDS attacked San Francisco, killing more than 15,000. Whole peer groups were happy, healthy, and then dead in months.
It is both a testament to the fallen and a series of life lessons from five brave survivors, lessons about finding the best in ourselves in the worst of times.
We Were Here ultimately serves as a tribute -- not only to those who are no longer with us, but also to those who crossed the minefield and emerged as survivors, storytellers and heroes.
...cinematographer Marsha Kahm has done a stellar job of zeroing in on the disparate visages whether revelling in the joy of a long-forgotten moment with a former partner or letting tears of 'Why not me?' come into unabashed focus.
...simple yet very intense, and if you have any interest in gay history, you won't want to miss it.
Cathartic and bittersweet with moments of joy and humor. Weissman's movie is a rare gift.
an insular story, told by insiders, of a particular community - a community to which this reviewer happened to be connected ... invaluable as a reminder of how it felt to be helpless, to be thought lost, and yet prevail. They - we - did overcome.
...this is a work that chronicles the very beginnings of a disease that shook the world for decades.
...honors the fallen, the survivors and those who helped both by documenting the intensity and the many issues surrounding the maelstrom which was the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco
[It's] as much about survival as tragedy, and any statistics in it pale in comparison to the personal testimony of those telling the tale.
Maintaining the perfect balance between the political and the personal, this is a documentary that will make you feel as well as think.
Weissman documents the ingenuity, generosity and optimism of a community that fell victim to a horrible disease that, with astonishing speed, turned the world inside out.
Even if, understandably, it's a little inward-looking (the ongoing disaster in Africa gets barely a mention), as a slice of social history, We Were Here takes an invigoratingly positive position on a very gloomy time.
An honest, frank and often moving documentary that deals with its difficult subject matter sensitively and compellingly.
Generosity, compassion, courage, determination, love and caring are the things that are emphasized in this film.
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.
Audience Reviews for We Were Here
An important and engaging documentary about the unimaginable horrors of the early years of AIDS. Although I had head some of this before from older friends, it provided a much better, more complete account of a harrowing time. It is easy to forget the pain and fears of others, or just to know them in a detached academic way. We should never forget that an entire community dying was reality for some people.More
"We Were Here" is a simple, yet powerfully effective documentary history of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco that creates a clear timeline of events, running from first rumors through effective treatment. This is told by a handful of survivors and eyewitnesses in their own words, recalling lost friends and loved ones, thus bringing such momentous events down to a deeply personal level. And the archival footage and photographs work well in tandem with this. Of particular interest is the valuable work of the lesbian community during the epidemic, previously a lesser partner in the larger gay community, rising to the occasion in more ways than one.(Correct me if I'm wrong but I think this was only glanced over in "And the Band Played On" by Randy Shilts.)More
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