Documentary Analysis: We Were Here

Topics: AIDS, Homosexuality, HIV Pages: 8 (1833 words) Published: July 18, 2016


When asked to recall the 1980’s, many fixate on images of Full House, Whitney Houston, Dirty Dancing, and a whole host of colorful pop culture phenomenon. But for the gay community of San Francisco, the decade is a reminder of a much darker time. In 1981, cases of what many were calling the “Gay Cancer” began springing up among young gay men in the Castro District, a disease which is today known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Commonly referred to as AIDS, this illness severely inhibits the victim’s ability to ward of infection and cancer, making it incredibly deadly. It tore through San Francisco, leaving thousands dead and many more permanently infected while most of the United States did little more than watch. The gay community of the city banded together in this time of terror and confusion, and their story is one which deserves to be told. This is the mission of the documentary We Were Here – to share the inspiring story of those who fought and survived the epidemic and remember those who they lost along the way.
The documentary follows the outbreak from panicked beginning to...

Through the eyes of five narrators, we see each stage unfold, from unclear beginnings to widespread hysteria and finally culminating in an uneasy victory. Audiences are given personal stories along with gripping facts, effectively teaching them about the discrimination faced by gay men and those infected with AIDS and the way those two types of prejudice intertwined even in the face of death and suffering. Every mark it makes for itself, the film hits, only falling short when it comes to painting a wider, less intimate picture. The documentary’s achievements in teaching about a modern tragedy and the struggles faced by those living through it make it truly powerful, and I recommend it strongly to those in need of both inspiration and...
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