The First Fallen (2021)

Directed and written by Rodrigo de Oliveira, this movie goes back to 1983 and a young biologist named Suzano (Johnny Massaro) coming home from studying in France and feeling like something is wrong with his body. This is the start of the AIDS crisis and he is amongst the first wave of the epidemic in his native Brazil.

The story of the film comes from his sister Maura (Clara Choveaux) and nephew Muriel (Alex Bonin) who come to terms with his death and discover how he spent his last days documenting his decline with Rose (Renata Carvalho) and cameraman Humberto (Victor Camilo). While that sounds like this is going to be a depressing film — and yes, it has moments of sheer sadness and pain — there is light inside this film.

At this point, AIDS didn’t even have a name. I remember when it was called a gay cancer and worse. This movie brought up those memories and made me thankful that we can talk about it now and that there are ways that people can survive with HIV.

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