Just saw United in Anger: A History of ACT UP, the new doc by Jim Hubbard that opens July 6 for a week at the Quad in NYC, and I recommend it highly. The film covers the birth and most effective years of the AIDS action group, as well as (in a more fleeting fashion) its later years, all using beautifully transferred videos shot at the time (archival footage of meetings, old PSA-style clips) intercut with modern interviews of surviving founders/members, and it does so in a way that's informative without being boring.
Then again, when did anything ACT UP ever did wind up boring?
I was most intrigued by the description of ACT UP as a central nervous system but with many separate brains—splinter groups that would focus on specific issues (the importance of testing women in trials, the needs of the homeless, etc.)—and the conclusion that it worked well that way. Highly organized chaos.
The passion in the voices is moving. Seeing activists making heartfelt speeches in the '80s and '90s (often with birth and death years indicated) is something the LGBT community needs. We're all guilty of being complacent as we move closer and closer toward our goal—full equal rights—and I think the most outspoken gay public figures we have today probably pale in comparison to those in this movie.
If nothing else, I wish young gay people would watch this to realize how lucky they are not to have to fight these battles—and to make them a little less certain they won't have to fight similar battles in the future.