What struck me most of all about Jeffrey was that it was so over-the-top in almost every way: Colours are vibrant, the characters are loud (oh hai there Bryan Batt from Mad Men), and there are so many funny cameos that it's easy to forget you're dealing with a subject that was and is still a very sore subject. I admit that it's definitely a-okay to watch Weber and Michael T Weiss act like cute lovebirds with one other, just as it's fun to watch everyone from Patrick Steward to Sigourney Weaver and Olympia Dukakis kick up their heals and sashay around with effervescent glee. As many films that err on the side of flamboyant tend to get, it's taste levels are questionable from time to time: a spirit from the afterlife? bizarro half-dressed fantasy sequences that attempt to break the fourth wall? Hmmm. In the end, despite some misgivings, it was quite refreshing how Jeffrey took such a different tact with the material. It never dismisses the tragedy of the events, but defiantly resists in letting the seriousness of the topic dictate its own agenda. Thankfully the actors are all game and it sounds awfully trite, but it certainly helps that it is competently made (which is something I can't say for some of the other queer films I've watched recently). B-
The subject matter gets a far more serious and detailed look in David Weissman's documentary We Were Here. Screening as a part of the upcoming Melbourne Queer Film Festival, this Oscar shortlisted documentary proves that no matter how many films are made on the topic of AIDS, there is always something new to learn. Less a straightforward history of the crisis that hit San Francisco in the 1980s than a series of talking head interviews with survivors of the era, We Were Here is an incredibly moving account of a time that truly does warrant the tag of a shameful moment in American history. We Were Here is both a film that mourns the loss of thousands of innocent people, but also a celebration of the people who unwittingly found themselves vital players in the fight against a curse that not only changed gay culture, but sexual culture the world over for as long as we'll live. Weissman, and co-director Bill Weber, have assembled a wonderful mix of people and simply allowed them to speak so eloquently about the subject that would essentially define their life. As one of the interviewees says, at least she can't look back on her life and she never did anything.