We Were Here Review and Trailer

We originally posted this review in February, just before its initial week long run.  Now that it’s coming back to San Francisco we decided to repost it.  Enjoy.

Directors David Weissman (The Cockettes) and Bill Weber‘s newest film is an important documentation of the global encompassing AIDS epidemic and its unforeseen integral death march that would forever shape San Francisco as we now know it.  Even more than that, We Were Here is an inspiring testimonial monument from those who have lived through what essentially can be called the genocidal disease of the 20th century.

The film is a straight forward paint-by-numbers documentary featuring sit down interviews, sparse musical cues, news reels, photographs and a lot of stories being told from the film’s five lead subjects who have lived through this ordeal.  In most cases I would find this style of documentary both boring and uninspired, but when handling such an earnest subject matter as powerful as this, to try to over-stylize the subject would only lessen the impact of the film’s message.

Actually, had the filmmakers completely edited out all the elements, aside from the five story tellers’ testimonies, the impact would have been equally effective.  And by ‘effective’, I mean that out of the 20 or so press invited to the pre-screening of this film, there was hardly a dry eye in the place.  I can only imagine the impact this film will have on opening day at The Castro Theatre.  Take my advice: bring a hanky.

Aside from having a good cry, one would be hard pressed to not take away from this film an education in an important chapter from San Francisco’s history book and what it truly means to be part of a community.

We Were Here opens at the Castro Theatre Friday, September 30th.

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