How to Survive a Plague – DVD review

David France’s compelling documentary examines the early years of Aids in New York and its struggle against US government neglect

David France, 2012

Network

David France’s compelling documentary examines the early years of the Aids epidemic in New York. Archive footage focuses on activist group ACT UP and its struggle against US government neglect.

The film is fast-paced and frightening; a rising death toll is shown against the backdrop of demonstrations by the gay community and homophobia from political leaders. That many of those interviewed died soon afterwards is deeply poignant, and when writer/activist Larry Kramer declares: “Forty million infected people is a plague,” the silence is haunting.

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