We Are Together (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner07/03/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 83 mins

Award-winning documentary that tells a powerfully emotional story, engagingly directed by Paul Taylor.

What's it all about?
We Are Together was the recipient of the Audience Award at last year's Edinburgh Film Festival. It tells the story of the Agape AIDS orphanage in South Africa's KwaZulu Natal, home to 25 children whose parents have died of AIDS.

Directed by ex-orphanage volunteer Paul Taylor, the film focusses on 12-year-old Slindile Moya and her family as she prepares to travel to London on a fund-raising singing tour with several other orphans. Meanwhile, her big brother Sifiso gradually succumbs to AIDS throughout the course of the film, to devastating effect.

The Good
Taylor spent almost three years volunteering at the orphanage and although he never appears in front of the camera, the mutual affection between him and the children (and orphanage founder "Grandma" Zodwa Mqadi) is obvious throughout, resulting in an engagingly personal and intimate approach. Taylor also does a good job of portraying the cultural importance of music, succinctly captured by Slindile's comment when she speaks about singing a song to remember her mother.

The music also represents hope and unity and the singing scenes are extremely powerful as a result - as a local musician notes, We can't all speak at once but we can all sing at once. However, the film also makes you experience what it's like when that hope is taken away – the sense of crushing disappointment felt by everyone when a planned trip to the UK is cancelled is almost too much to bear.

The Great
Unsurprisingly, there are several heart-breaking scenes but there are also many joyous moments too, whether it's the elation on the children's faces when they meet Alicia Keys or smaller moments such as Slindile quietly exclaiming, Oh, happy day.

Worth seeing?
In short, We Are Together is a powerfully emotional documentary that is both upsetting and uplifting in equal measure. Recommended.

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Content updated: 17/07/2018 12:46

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