Chris & Don: A Love Story (USA; 90 min.)

directed by: Tina Mascara and Guido Santi
Chris & Don: A Love Story

Michael says: "This was the film that Chlotrudis co-presented at Ptown, and I was very pleased by the nearly packed house at the Crown & Anchor. CHRIS & DON: A LOVE STORY beautifully tells the story of the thirty-year relationship of author/poet Christopher Isherwood and artist Don Bachardy who was thirty years Isherwood's junior. With Bachardy still living, the film tends to focus more on him, but Isherwood certainly gets his share of attention. All of the issues you might imagine in a relationship with such disparate ages are present, and because Isherwood was a diarist, the access to his most personal thoughts and even video footage is well utilized here. Just thinking about the fact that these two men first met when Don was 16 (they became a couple when he was 18) you can't help but ponder his entire adult identity being shaped by Isherwood. The main point of struggle was certainly Don's search for an identity when partnered with such a talented and well-known figure. I'm sure that if Bachardy had not found his creative talent as an artist, their relationship would never have survived.

Mascara and Santi blend live interview with Don and others who knew the couple, with Isherwood's video footage and readings from his diaries, as well as recreations of some key points in their lives. They shape out of this unconventional, decidedly non-traditional relationship a romance for the ages, with grace, style, and a passionate heart. 4 1/2 cats"

Beth C. says: "This is one of the most wonderful documentaries I have ever seen. I think the main reason that the film is so wonderful is that the subjects are undeniably compelling. Although Chris Isherwood has passed on, Don Bachardy is still very much alive and healthy, and Don delivers a thorough account of how their relationship evolved over the decades. At first glance, a viewer might think that Don, being 30 years Chris' junior, would embody a typical, young, star-struck lover of the famous writer, Isherwood. However, I found myself in awe of the strength and creativity demonstrated by Bachardy, which must have contributed to the success of their relationship. Throughout the film, I grew to appreciate both men in their unique personalities, and I found their commitment to each other inspiring. I also greatly appreciated the opportunity to view a number of portraits drawn and painted by Bachardy, whose work is superb, as his portraits capture the essence and soul of his subjects. I would watch this film every day. 5 cats"