The Black Lives Matter protest was disruptive, loud, tense and passionate. The first thing that came to my mind was ACT UP, a group I was a part of, which engaged in similar kinds of protest and disruption, including against Democratic presidential candidates. The urgency of the protest was similar as well: People are dying, and no one in power seems to be doing anything to stop it.
It took over 20 years for Larry Kramer to finally see his gut-punching AIDS play The Normal Heart put to film, but only days for the movie's few critics to slam its lack of racial and gender diversity. In what is now becoming a familiar pattern, filmmakers are being told to diversify our history, even if that history was less than diverse.
The Normal Heart remembers moments, then reinvents others, and it reminds me that AIDS fiction is not the truth but a reflection on the emotional truth of an epidemic. That's all I ask for. Lie to me about the look of a lesion and I will forgive you. Lie to me about the emotional truth of the epidemic and I'll pitch you out like an old AZT bottle.
As the world gears up for HBO's The Normal Heart, I present a recent episode of SnowbizNow in which standout films in 30 years of AIDS in cinema are honored.