New to DVD this week: DESERT MIGRATION
Daniel F Cardone’s look at an enclave of HIV/AIDS survivors had its world premiere at Frameline last year. It also screened at Visions Du Reél, Cleveland, Palm Springs, Adelaide, Open City, Outfest, NewFest, and at numerous other LGBT fests in Denver, Austin, Atlanta, Seattle, Milwaukee, Madrid, Amsterdam, Boston, and Melbourne, among others.
Cardone’s film focuses on 13 men who have lived with HIV for far longer than they initially expected. Until the emergence of protease inhibitors in the mid-1990s, they, like so many others, believed their HIV+ diagnosis was a death sentence. Having moved to the gay oasis of Palm Springs CA, they escaped their supposed fates and instead face the reality of growing older while coming to grips with the personal losses they suffered from the epidemic, in addition to coping with the side effects of their medication. Cardone follows his subjects in their daily routines, as they ruminate on life within this welcoming community, expressed via candid narration against often striking images. While the approach lends a poetic air to the proceedings, audiences may be hard-pressed to distinguish each of the 13 largely very similar men, prompting the question of whether quite so many voices really needed to be included here. Still, the film presents a frank and necessary consideration of issues of mortality, wellness, and aging that are too-often ignored within the mainstream gay community.