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The Witnesses
Love in the shadow of an epidemic.

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A group of friends contend with the first outbreak of the javascript: imageIndexPopup('Film', 'image1path', 'image1', 2, 1) javascript: imageIndexPopup('Film', 'image1path', 'image1', 2, 1)AIDS epidemic.

The Witnesses

There’s something soap operatic about André Téchiné’s study of a 1980s marriage unsettled by the spectre of AIDS.

The first chapter delights in freedoms and flirtations, as bisexual cop Sami Bouajila cheats on children’s author Emmanuelle Béart with Johan Libéreau, the protégé of gay doctor Michel Blanc. However, trepidation intrudes after Libéreau is diagnosed with a terrifying new disease and, even though the survivors pick up the pieces of their lives, an air of resignation defiles the climactic optimism.

Téchiné captures the changing attitudes of the times with an assurance that also informs the tonal shifts. But while the male trio is persuasively drawn, Béart’s reluctant mother feels too peripheral.

Téchiné captures the changing attitudes of the times but some characters feel too peripheral.

Reviewed by Patrick Peters

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