Longtime Companion (1989)
Perhaps the first film to put a human face on the AIDS epidemic, Longtime Companion follows the lives of a small circle of friends from the first mention of the disease in the New York Times in 1981. First referred to as “Gay-Related-Immune-Disorder,” we watch the effect of the disease as it devastates the lives of our protagonists. Jumping between Manhattan and Fire Island, vignettes carry us from the it-couldn’t-happen-to-me mentality of the early days of the disease to the invasive effect it has had on all of our lives, today. The title of the film comes from the New York Times’ refusal to acknowledge homosexual relationships in their obituary section during this period. Instead, survivors were referred to as “Longtime Companions” of the deceased.