The Witnesses | Chicago Reader

The Witnesses

Rated NR 114 minutes 2007

Andre Techine's best work since his mid-90s peak, this briskly paced French drama centers on a handful of characters in 1984, during the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic. Even as a gay doctor (Michel Blanc) nurtures a platonic relationship with a promiscuous young man (Johan Libereau), the doctor's friendship with a writer (Emmanuelle Beart) leads the man into an affair with her bisexual husband (Sami Bouajila), a vice-squad cop. A requiem for the sexual revolution, the film brings to light ugly emotions, but ultimately Techine is less concerned with the bitterness of death than with how the infected and uninfected alike live with HIV and AIDS. This transcends the usual stodginess of period pieces with crucial historical testimony, delivered with verve. In French with subtitles.

Film Credits

Director: André Téchiné

Producer: Saïd Ben Saïd

Cast: Michel Blanc, Emmanuelle Béart, Sami Bouajila, Julie Depardieu, Johan Libéreau, Constance Dollé, Alain Cauchi, Lorenzo Balducci, Raphaëline Goupilleau, Bertrand Soulier, Jacques Nolot and Xavier Beauvois

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