We Were Here Review

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Documentary-maker David Weissman looks at the spread of the AIDS virus in 1980s San Francisco. The community's reaction to the spread of the virulent disease forms the centrepiece of his story.


The AIDS virus still feels like a taboo subject, so David Weissman’s documentary on how the disease they branded the “gay cancer” ambushed 1980s San Franciscans overnight is freshly alarming, the staggering death toll alone totally impenetrable. As the title suggests, We Were Here is a dedication to the deceased told via choked, yet often heartwarming, confessionals by exceptionally brave men, some of whom lost several lovers and battle the virus today. With the focus on one community’s response, detail on the wider world picture and modern treatments are left for another story. But flinching at scenes as harrowing as concentration camp footage, it’s impossible to deny that Weissman’s work is as vital as any study on war or genocide.

A moving look behind the curtain of a rarely-explored community.