Saturday, February 18, 2012
The power of protest.
Sundance can often feel like a gay film festival. This year, there didn't seem to be the usual crop of LGBT films. Of the handful of gay-themed films from this year's festival, I saw one; David France's intense documentary How to Survive a Plague. This is a movie about protest. It's about gay men, and the people who love them, doing whatever they could to get the U.S. government to develop more effective treatments for AIDS. It's a powerful film.
I lived through much of this history but I probably wasn't as aware of the issue as I should have been. This movie gave me a new appreciation for people who rattled the system to help save lives. It also reminded me that conservative voices regularly say stupid stuff that will make them the butt of history's jokes. In this film, it's Jesse Helm. Wow, that guy has been filmed making so many offensive gay slurs that he has ensured his place in documentary film history.
How to Survive a Plague also gave me a new appreciation for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Just like the activists of the Act Up movement, the Occupy movement is filled with crazy liberals who can sometimes seem unorganized and combative. But maybe like Act Up, they might just force dramatic changes in the way our world works. Let's hope so.