A city strug­gles with HIV/AIDS

Los Angeles Times - - Movies -

Su­san Koch opens her com­pelling, con­scious­ness-rais­ing doc­u­men­tary “The Other City” by pos­ing the ques­tion: Which city has the high­est HIV/AIDS rate? Port au Prince, Haiti; Washington, D.C.; or Dakar, Sene­gal? The an­swer is the Amer­i­can cap­i­tal, where an es­ti­mated 3% of the pop­u­la­tion is in­fected. Through­out the film there are glimpses of the White House, the Capi­tol and other ma­jes­tic land­marks, pro­vid­ing an ironic con­trast to Koch’s gallery of in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions strug­gling to com­bat the long-run­ning dis­ease in the face of de­clin­ing fund­ing and “AIDS fa­tigue.”

HIV/AIDS may cross all eth­nic, racial and class lines, but not sur­pris­ingly the hard­est hit has been the city’s large African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity, fol­lowed by its bur­geon­ing Latino pop­u­la­tion and its gay com­mu­nity. Ex­perts hold that the long­time fed­eral ban — only re­cently lifted — on nee­dle ex­change pro­grams has been largely re­spon­si­ble for HIV/AIDS rav­aging the black com­mu­nity.

Among those pro­filed are J’Mia Ed­wards, an HIV-pos­i­tive sin­gle mother of three small chil­dren who is given no­tice that fund­ing for her apart­ment will soon end, plung­ing her into a bureau­cratic night­mare in her des­per­ate search for new hous­ing. Jimmy is a 35-year-old gay white male, in­fected at age 17, and now taken by his fam­ily to die in a hospice that is it­self fac­ing a sub­stan­tial loss of fund­ing.

Jose Ramirez de­votes his time to pass­ing out con­doms and preach­ing safe sex prac­tices to young Lati­nos; Ron Daniels cre­ated a nee­dle ex­change pro­gram. A group of about two dozen African Amer­can ex-cons with HIV/ AIDS formed the Courage to Change or­ga­ni­za­tion and reach out to the com­mu­nity. All these in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions are deeply af­fect­ing in their at­tempt to bet­ter them­selves and so­ci­ety against daunt­ing odds.

— Kevin Thomas

“The Other City.” MPAA rat­ing: Un­rated. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 30 min­utes. At Laemmle’s Mu­sic Hall, Bev­erly Hills.

“Pic­ture Me.” MPAA rat­ing. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 20 min­utes. Play­ing at the Sun­set 5, West Hollywood.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.