Thankfully we’ve moved on from films simply showing that people with AIDS are worthy of love, respect and dignity. *The Witnesses* explores the distress and confusion of a group of people at a time of increasing sexual freedom when one of them, Manu, a chef, becomes ill.
Manu is living with a doctor, Adrien, and having an affair with a police officer, Mehdi, who has an open marriage with Sarah, and a new-born baby, and doesn’t regard himself as gay. As Manu becomes more and more ill, he hides himself away. Adrien slowly comes to realize what the illness is.
This is not an sentimental ‘issue’ film but a well-observed, involving study of how each of the characters reacts – to disclosure, fears, AIDS tests – and how they interact. Impressive.