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In 1987, 26-year-old Peter Staley, a closeted Wall Street trader, was diagnosed as HIV-positive. Given less than two years to live, he addressed the International AIDS Conference . . . three years later. He's still alive. Too many from those dark early days haven't been so lucky, and the survivor's guilt that runs through filmmaker David France's extraordinary documentary is palpable. But ultimately, the story presented by the former reporter for Boston's defunct Gay Community News is one of hope. We've come a long way since France was fired from the New York Post for being gay. He's been covering AIDS since 1982; the film grew out of a major history of the epidemic he's compiling for publication, and his chronicle — driven by never-before-seen archival footage from the frontlines — puts a very human face on its tale of two coalitions, ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group), whose Herculean efforts helped turn a death sentence into a manageable condition.

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 See all articles by: BRETT MICHEL