All The Way Through Evening
- Director:Rohan Spong
- Cast:Mimi Sterne Wolfe
- Release Date:November 29, 2012
- Running time:68 minutes
- Film Worth:$16.50
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While it feels weighed down by grief in places, this remains a deeply moving, vital and ultimately hopeful piece of cinema.
Australian documentarian, Rohan Spong, uses the New York arts and music scene as a lens through which to examine the onset of the AIDS epidemic in this deeply moving film. Taking as his focus The Benson AIDS Series charity concert mounted by elderly pianist, Mimi Sterne-Wolfe, each National AIDS Day, Spong expands the scope of the film until it becomes a kind of eyewitness account of a plague that decimated not only the gay community, but the arts scene as well.
It’s sobering stuff, as Spong conducts a series of talking head interviews wherein the subjects recount a litany of the dead with heartbreaking matter-of-factness. At one point, an interviewee baldy states that WW2 soldiers might know, on average, ten men who were killed in action, while he can list 35 friends who were claimed by AIDS. If that was the sum total of Spong’s film, it would be an unbearably depressing affair, though still a fascinating one. Thankfully, the piece also serves as a celebration of the artists’ lives and work, with friends recounting their genius, and the beauty of their achievements. Particular attention is given to playwright and composer, Robert Chesley, whose confronting work in the eighties, such as the frank and graphic two-hander (no pun intended), Jerker, pushed the envelope in terms of how gays were portrayed in the media.
Ultimately, All The Way Through Evening counts the cost of the AIDS epidemic, and also acts as a beacon of hope. A few flat patches mean that the film falls short of greatness – the endless listing of dead friends becomes, frankly, too much at times – but it remains an incredibly affecting and important piece of cinema, nonetheless.