2 January 2013 | Michael_Elliott
How to Survive a Plague (2012)
**** (out of 4)
David France's excellent documentary takes us back in time to see the fight AIDS activists had to go through in order to get where we are today. Through video clips, interviews and other forms of video footage we see how the times changed throughout the years while the main focus of the film is set during the late 80s and early 90s when political indifference and a lack of any plan caused millions of people to die while drugs that might have helped them weren't being given to them. What's so great about this movie is that it uses video footage from throughout the decades to tell its story. It could be media reports, underground videos, appearances by people on talk shows or various other forms of footage that really gives one a terrific idea of this uphill fight. Director France does a rather remarkable job editing the footage together to give the viewer a complete idea of what it was like during these times when it seems no one could agree on what to do next. The film covers the activists hopes for what would happen, the politicians refuses to step in for a variety of reasons and even the Catholic church's controversial statement that condoms were sinful. I thought the film really did do a great job at showing future generations the "war" that these people were pretty much going through in order to try and get something done. Some will argue, perhaps rightfully, that the film is too one-sided since it only gives off one side. I understand this argument and I would have liked to have heard from some of the medical departments on why more wasn't done. Still, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE is a pretty haunting and dramatic little picture that will certainly be a staple of its subject for years to come.