Wesley Morris: 2. “How to Survive a Plague”
Formally, David France’s documentary is a compilation of footage from the 1980s and early 1990s as seen from the front lines of the AIDS crisis. The scenes are of what already happened among the activists — their coalition, their splintering into factions. But they don’t feel archival, per se. They feel remembered and dreamt. The years are shaped into two devastating hours of drama and anger and politics. Rather than give you foreboding before the storm or the quiet after it’s passed, France has conjured the storm itself.