Victoria Cruz investigates the mysterious 1992 death of black gay rights activist and Stonewall veteran, Marsha P. Johnson. Using archival interviews with Johnson, and new interviews with Johnson's family, friends and fellow activists.
Catherine Shugrue Dos Santos
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The Marines of Echo Company
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
How to Survive a Plague is definitely one of the year's most awe-inspiring, riveting, go-into- action documentaries. Through a mightily informative combination of recent interviews and archival footage the film exhibits a noteworthy fight against both ignorance and indifference towards such a deadly epidemic as the one caused by the HIV virus. This is also a serious, heartfelt, touching depiction of a movement that was ready to change something, even if it meant sacrificing a few soldiers along the way. And yes, the word 'soldiers' is perfectly suitable when it comes to all those young people who devoted their whole lives to a global, far-reaching cause.
Year by year, How to Survive a Plague presents a through and insightful look at the actions that propelled the LGBT activists in some of their most tragic days. Undeniably, the story behind such coalitions as Act Up and TAG are exhilarating ones. Even though the then-deadly virus already infected many of those young people, they still didn't lose faith in the cause and decided to stand up against the government and its reluctance to help those in need. Lead by a few charismatic and devoted individuals Act Up changed to course of history and it's definitely not an exaggeration. By making the whole world aware of the seriousness of this ferocious AIDS plague the activists made the world a place friendly for all inhabitants of this planet, no matter their sexual orientation or skin color.
How to Survive a Plague is a clever, intriguing and fortifying documentary. Every scene of the film matters, every voice raised is a significant one. Decidedly so, the interviews shine a new light on the past events presented in the archival footage, and their coming together combines for a valuable film experience.
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