DVD Review: ‘How to Survive a Plague’ Makes Old Fight Feel Current

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CHICAGO – Few films have more notably put viewers in the middle of a health crisis than David France’s Oscar-nominated “How to Survive a Plague,” recently released on DVD. With a ton of archival footage of the battle to increase the speed and severity of the drug trials that would help battle AIDS, France’s film captures something important about the war against one of the deadliest diseases of the last century. How do you survive? You fight.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Instead of offering a history lesson, France very carefully transports viewers through it, using conference footage, news clips, meetings, and more to really give the film an on-the-ground aesthetic that elevates it above similar material. The DVD also includes an informative commentary track from not just the director but ACT UP activists, many of who are still fighting. People are still trying to survive and everyone interested in their cause should check out “How to Survive a Plague.”

How to Survive a Plague was released on DVD on February 26, 2013
How to Survive a Plague was released on DVD on February 26, 2013
Photo credit: Sundance Selects

Synopsis:
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and featured on over 15 top-ten lists, How To Survive A Plague is the story of the brave young men and women who successfully reversed the tide of an epidemic, demanded the attention of a fearful nation, and stopped AIDS from becoming a death sentence. This improbable group of activists bucked oppression and infiltrated government agencies and the pharmaceutical industry, helping to identify promising new medication and treatments and move them through trials and into drugstores in record time. In the process, they saved their own lives and ended the darkest days of a veritable plague, while virtually emptying AIDS wards in American hospitals. Theirs is a classic tale of activism that has since inspired movements for change in everything from breast cancer research to Occupy Wall Street.

Special Features:
o Commentary With Director David France and Act Up Activists Heidi Dorow, Joy Episalla, Bob Lederer and Ron Medley
o Deleted Scenes
o Trailer

“How to Survive a Plague” was released on DVD on February 26, 2013.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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