Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt by Robert Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
 a film documentary by Robert Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
 1989 | 79 mins | US
 ›› Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt
 a moving tribute to those infected or affected by AIDS
 narrative by Dustin Hoffman
 featuring: Sarah Lewinstein, David Mandell, Suzi Mandell, Sallie Perryman, Vito Russo, Tracey Torrey
Winner of numerous awards including the 1990 Academy® Award for Best Documentary Feature, this powerful work from Robert Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman details the reflections of those who bravely watched their loved ones die, unable to prevent their deaths, through health complications brought on by AIDS. Yet this is not a morbid piece. For like the AIDS Memorial Quilt, this compelling film celebrates the lives of those who succumbed to the virus. Only in doing so, it also charts the lives of others who had a direct consequence on their very existence.

Inparticular it documents the gross mishandling by the Reagan administration of the AIDS epidemic, along the way presenting the words of those who could have done so much to help their fellow Americans, only to remain indifferent to their plight, against that of the heartfelt testimony from those desperate to relate their grave concerns for the future.

Yet this is more than just an AIDS history lesson. For this emotionally charged work takes time out to detail the lives of five individuals who died well before their time and like the quilt, are hereby remembered by the moving recollections of the friends and family they left behind. For in paying tribute to the lives of David Campbell, Robert Perryman, Jeffrey Sevcik, David Mandell Jr and Dr Tom Waddell, this film hits home by conveying the very demographics of the disease, affecting homosexual, heterosexual and hemophiliac communities alike.

Intercut with a wealth of archive footage of the time, the end result is more than just a documentary tracing the threads of the lives of those who so courageously battled against AIDS. Indeed it is more than just a film relating the history of the disease itself. For this is, in effect, a rewarding and yet equally bitter viewing experience, given we know with hindsight, what could have been done to save the lives of so many. Above all else, it remains a moving tribute to those that have been or are still, infected or affected by AIDS.
Copyright 2004 David Hall -
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