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We Were Here

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David Weissman
Country of origin and year
USA 2011
90 minutes
Rated 15

The first film to take a deep and reflective look back at the arrival of AIDS, We Were Here focuses on a small number of interviewees, all of whom lived in San Francisco before the epidemic hit in the early 1980s. The stories they tell are not only intensely personal, but also address the much larger political and sexual complexities of that era. Though this is a San Francisco-based story, the issues it addresses extend not only beyond San Francisco but also beyond AIDS itself. It speaks to our societal relationship to death and illness, our capacity as individuals to rise to the occasion, and the importance of community in addressing unimaginable crises.

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“Of all the cinematic explorations of the AIDS crisis, not one is more heartbreaking and inspiring than WE WERE HERE…  Throughout WE WERE HERE there is not a hint of mawkishness, self-pity or self-congratulation. The humility, wisdom and cumulative sorrow expressed lend the film a glow of spirituality and infuse it with grace.”
Stephen Holden, New York Times (July 17 capsule review,   September 9 full review)

“David Weissman and Bill Weber’s brisk, tender, multifaceted, and deeply moving documentary, tells the story of the AIDS crisis through the voices of four gay men … and one woman, all of whom pitched in—for years—to help the sick and the dying because, as the movie makes clear, the circumstances made it unthinkable for them to do otherwise. They and their comrades are the equivalent of World War II resistance fighters, and the film gives their commitment and courage the celebration it deserves…. simply the most compelling history of the major tragedy and epic struggle of our time.”
 Amy Taubin, Film Comment



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