This beautifully crafted documentary is a companion piece to Neil Armfield’s Holding The Man, as it revisits the lives of Tim Conigrave and his lover, John Caleo. Where Armfield and playwright, Tommy Murphy, dramatised Conigrave’s seminal book, filmmakers, Nickolas Bird and Eleanor Sharpe, get Tim to tell his own story.
In 1993, a year before his death, Conigrave participated in a project for The National Library, which aimed to capture the thoughts and feelings of a vanishing generation – Australian gay men dying of HIV/AIDS. Utilising this recorded testimony, interviews with the couple’s friends, and astonishing archival footage, Bird and Sharpe build a vivid and compelling account of the boys’ lives. They chart a lot of what we already know from both book and film, but give a much greater depth and resonance to the events. From this perspective, Tim’s parents take on a more subtle tone than we’ve previously known, while priests at Xavier College are remembered fondly, enlightened even, in their treatment of the boys’ relationship. In all, Remembering The Man reveals a more open era.