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308 Ratings

How to Survive a Plague

Directed by David France
United States, 2012


The untold story of the intensive efforts that turned AIDS into a manageable condition – and the improbable group of (mostly HIV-positive) young men and women whose amazing resilience broke through a time of rampant death and political indifference.

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How to Survive a Plague Directed by David France

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

2013 | Nominee: Best Documentary, Features

Independent Spirit Awards

2013 | Nominee: Best Documentary

Village Voice Film Poll

2012 | 2nd place: Best Documentary Feature Film

2012 | Nominee: Best First Feature

The story alone is compelling (lay people band together, bone up on medical literature, and actually change both public policy and private companies: amazing!) and the documentary does it justice. Using loads of footage shot by group members themselves and television news crews of the 80s, the palpability of death comes through as strongly as it can in cinema.
January 17, 2014
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For all its good intentions, How To Survive a Plague is not especially suited to the gracious storytelling medium of celluloid. With its unsculpted time-capsule quality it seems destined to live in the hands of those who would deploy it as an empowering and important history lesson.
November 07, 2013
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A rare documentary that will move you to tears and outrage with absolutely no pandering, manipulation or softening of the subject’s complex science, How to Survive a Plague is that rare animal — required viewing for those interested in the subject and in cinema itself. It’s one of the year’s best films. Full stop.
October 25, 2012
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