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How to Survive a Plague (2012)

Not Rated | | Documentary, History, News | 8 November 2013 (UK)
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The story of two coalitions -- ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group) -- whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.

Director:

David France

Writers:

David France, Woody Richman (as T. Woody Richman) | 4 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Koch ... Himself (archive footage)
David Barr David Barr ... Himself
Bob Rafsky Bob Rafsky ... Himself (archive footage)
Jim Eigo Jim Eigo ... Himself
Ann Northrop Ann Northrop ... Herself
Larry Kramer ... Himself
Gregg Bordowitz Gregg Bordowitz ... Himself
Peter Staley ... Himself
Bill Bahlman Bill Bahlman ... Himself
Spencer Cox Spencer Cox ... Himself
Barbara Starrett Barbara Starrett ... Herself
Iris Long Iris Long ... Herself (archive footage)
Franke-Ruta Garance Franke-Ruta Garance ... Herself (as Garance Franke-Ruta)
Mark Harrington ... Himself
Jesse Helms Jesse Helms ... Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, the disease was considered a death sentence affecting communities, like the LGBT ones, whom many in power felt deserved it. This film tells the story of how militant activists like ACT-UP and TAG pushed for a meaningful response to this serious public health problem. As the activists struggled against political indifference, religious hostility, corporate greed and apparently skewed scientific research priorities with determination and sheer audacity, they produced a political wave that would lead to not only an effective treatment regime, but would advance LGBT rights beyond anyone's expectations. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 November 2013 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

AIDS-pioneerit See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,250, 23 September 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$132,055
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Jesse Helms: They can speak as long as they don't offend anybody else, I suppose.
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Connections

Featured in The Oscars (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Soon To Be Innocent Fun/Let's See
Performed by Arthur Russell
Written by Arthur Russell (as Charles Arthur Russell Jr.) ( (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Audika Records LLC/Rough Trade Records Ltd./Domino Publishing Company Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
wonderful, bittersweet look at a movement over ten years
25 September 2012 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

That seeming rarity: an incisive, heartfelt documentary about people doing good that is important, even today as AIDS is not the 'plague' it once was. It shows what people will do when they are pushed to a limit - it's not even about gay rights but about human rights, for proper health-care for the deathly ill. It's filmmaking that doesn't shy away from the rougher areas - when there is infighting in ACT UP, the director (first timer David France) shows it warts and all. But it's the heroism by the likes of Peter Staley and Mark Harrington that shines through the most. As Roger Ebert said, it's most emotional for the audience with a drama when seeing good people suffer, as do the people in ACT UP and in the AIDS crisis, and in doing good, against all odds.

We get the sense that they were not just fighting for themselves, though that was certainly a big component, but fighting for the millions that needed the medicine that could at least be attempted. The saddest part is seeing the trial and error over the years, where people who did take the early drugs like ATX just didn't get better like they should've. It's a bittersweet conclusion since by the time the medicine did get to the point where AIDS was at least something people could try and not, you know, kill them, so many had already passed (the ticker per-year that comes up becomes more and more shocking, albeit a lot of these numbers were from Africa). As a document of the AIDS/HIV crisis and as a pure protest movie and 'Fight the Powers That Be!' saga, it's moving, harsh, and keeps its story moving with compelling people who faced up to the fact that their fight had to be about science even before it being a social issue.

Oh, and the sort of 'reveal' you don't even expect in the last ten or so minutes... it shoots this up to being essential viewing.


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