Chris & Don: A Love Story
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Chris & Don: A Love Story

USA, 2007, 90 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Arts & Literature, Documentary, Gay
Program: Documentary
Language: English

DIRECTORS: Tina Mascara, Guido Santi

Writer Christopher Isherwood and artist Don Bachardy met in 1952 and, despite a 30-year age difference, fell in love. Framed by Bachardy’s intimate and revelatory recollections, this beautifully reflective tribute to their 34-year love affair combines historical footage, home movies, celebrity commentary and whimsical animated sequences to create a comprehensive portrait of two remarkable lives.
Isherwood’s peripatetic early history — Cambridge, Berlin, New York and Southern California — is covered in great detail, with special focus on the autobiographical writings that came out of his time in Germany and resulted in Cabaret. Bachardy, on the other hand, reminisces on his geographically stable childhood as a native Angeleno. Speaking about his life before Isherwood, he relates — in his inimitable, raspy, British-inflected voice — his early obsession with movies and his history with his mentally unstable older brother, who is also gay.
Bachardy’s eventful but never self-mythologizing remembrances are interspersed with knowing memories from Leslie Caron, John Boorman and even Miss Liza herself, as well as short bursts of animation, which bring to life the animal alter egos that Chris and Don used to reveal difficulties in their relationship. It’s a brilliant conceit, dovetailing with Bachardy’s own accomplished career in portraiture and painting. Together, these artistic elements, along with a jazz-inflected original sound-track, paint a singular and unforgettable portrait of one of history’s great love stories. — ROD ARMSTRONG


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