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Silverlake Life - The View From Here (1993)

Cast: Mark Massi, Mark Massi, Tom Joslin, more...
Director: Peter Friedman, Peter Friedman, Tom Joslin, more...
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: New Video Group
Genre: Documentary, Foreign, Biographies, GLBT
Running Time: 99 min.
Languages: English
    see additional details...

After he was diagnosed with AIDS, film director and one-time UCLA film professor Tom Joslin decided to closely document his and his lover Mark Massi's experiences. The film follows his day to day life as he struggles to cope with the disease and its ravages. One particularly difficult section covers the lovers' journey to New Hampshire for what turns out to have been a final Christmas celebration with Joslin's family, which has kept Massi at arms-length for the twenty two years he has been Joslin's lover. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that the only factor which has made the experience at all bearable is the love between the two men. When Joslin dies, the filming continues, showing how his corpse is handled. His friend Peter Friedman continues the documentary to include the ironic aftermath of Joslin's death, in which Massi is welcomed into his lover's family. There are no overt political statements in this documentary; it is a virtually pure record of the two men's experiences as one of them is dying. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

classic documentary by alexjb January 6, 2006 - 1:36 AM PST
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
hey, brace yourself, right? you're about to watch two guys degrade and then die of AIDS. but is it watchable, or is it two hours of time-lapse?

what makes this film powerful is its rawness. what makes it watchable is the editing.

tom and mark are easy to like, plus we get some of their backstory through amateur-hour interview work. they're mostly optimistic on film, but realism sets in, and there's bitterness there too. there's also footage included of them from previous documentary work that tom did when they were much younger. mark continued the filming effort (with some help from friends) after tom died, so there's a fair amount of closure at the end.

the film style is such that you never really forget that it's home-made. and it's raw beyond today's 'reality TV' standards, though not as bad as watching someone's home movies. it's paced so that you have time to get to know the two before they physically start to break down, which makes their transformation/degradation really hit home, plus there's footage of family and friends to balance out the perspectives.

although it's becoming a bit dated by now, i consider this a classic for the way that it captures its subject - i have not yet seen a film that more powerfully reflects how AIDS has destroyed so many people's lives. if you're sensitive, you should definitely expect to cry.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.88)
58 Votes
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Docurama List 3
Docurama list #1, list #2 and list #4.
GreenCine's Official 50 Best Documentaries List!
Each of these inspiring documentaries will take you to a world you've never been or tell you a story you've never heard, and deserve a place in the archives. One prerequisite: the films had to be currently available on DVD.

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