Scott Marks 4:30 p.m., Dec. 5
How to Survive a Plague
At the dawn of the AIDS epidemic, while the government was scratching its head and wondering what to do with Americans dying off in record numbers, two coalitions — ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group) — stepped in and stepped up the medical breakthroughs in health care needed to transform the disease from a plague into the “manageable condition” it is today. David France’s documentary about the advancements made in AIDS research, comprised almost entirely of archival footage, is not much to look at. Even harder to endure are images of the ravaged victims, which are at times as excruciating to watch as a Holocaust documentary. How to Survive a Plague is not a film that attempts to sentimentalize an issue or wring pity from its viewers. It’s a triumphant portrait of a group of gallant men and women striving in the face of near certain defeat, and how hard they worked to remove government from their lives in order to do right by the people. 2012.
— Scott Marks
- Big Screen Review • October 25, 2012