Author Topic: NEW FEST: 20th Anniversary NY LGB&T Film Festival: "Were the World Mine" (2008)  (Read 15045 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011
http://www.gaycitynews.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19769249&BRD=2729&PAG=461&dept_id=569331&rfi=6

Gentlemen In Love


Don Bachardy and Christopher Isherwood pose
in front of a painting of themselves by David Hockney.

By: GARY M. KRAMER
06/12/2008

CHRIS & DON: A LOVE STORY
Directed by Tina Mascara and Guido Santi
Zeitgeist Films
Opens Jun. 13
Quad Cinema

"Chris & Don: A Love Story" documents the 30-year relationship between writer Christopher Isherwood and his partner Don Bachardy, who was 30 years his junior.

Isherwood, born near Manchester, England, was a prolific writer over a 40-year span and a close friend of both W.H. Auden and Stephen Spender, but is probably best known for the opening words of his 1939 novel "Goodbye to Berlin" - "I am a camera," which was the title of a stage adaptation of his novel that eventually became the musical "Cabaret."

Bachardy became a respected painter and pencil portrait-maker.

"Chris & Don," which incorporates Isherwood's diaries, home movies, photographs, and interviews, as well as Bachardy's scrapbooks, drawings, and paintings, is an intimate and affectionate portrait of the men who lived together in California from 1953 until Isherwood's death in 1986. During the early years of that relationship, it was still quite daring to be an openly gay couple.


One essential bond between the two men - whose love is adoringly depicted via animated sequences involving a surrogate horse and a cat - is the house they shared in Santa Monica. The small hillside ranch is lined with books and artwork on every wall - David Hockney collages and Duane Michaels photographs, as well as plentiful portraits of nude men. The garage was converted to an atelier for Bachardy.

A distinguished gentleman, whose British accent is something he "mimicked" from Isherwood, Bachardy opens the door of his home and is dressed almost entirely in blue. His wiry frame is draped in a blue linen shirt, and his jeans are held up by a blue leather belt. Even his socks, which sport yellow dollar signs on them, are blue.

An interview with the artist begins with Bachardy explaining how he was approached to be in the documentary.

"I did it just as a favor to Guido [Santi, the co-director]," he says, adding that he never believed the film would actually happen.

"Because I liked the filmmakers and I was at ease with them, I was much more candid than I would have been with any filmmaker I didn't know well," Bachardy says, almost wistfully. "The older I get the more my life becomes like an open book. I used to be much more private, and much less forthcoming, but it matters much less the older I get, and why keep things from people?"

Almost as if to prove his point, the artist launches into a randy story comparing Isherwood's penis with that a handsome man named Alex - and recounts his sexual experiences with the two of them.

But Bachardy's stories are not all naughty. Bachardy describes how he met Isherwood and talks about their life together as well as his own experiences since his lover's death. He also talks with considerable animation about the famous people he's painted over the years - Bette Davis, whom the movie-mad Bachardy worshipped in his youth, actress Teri Garr, costumer Edith Head, and California Governor Jerry Brown, for whom he was commissioned to paint the official portrait that hangs in the state capitol building.

Bachardy and Isherwood ran in a famous crowd - posing for Hockney and smoking hashish with Paul Bowles. But this high life might not have been possible for Bachardy had he not met Isherwood, and the artist acknowledges this.

"I've had an insanely lucky life," he says.

When pressed about his "luck," and what may account for being in the right place at the right time, or knowing the right people, he demurs: "Luck is luck. I can't tell you that I deserved it more than anybody else."

One of the most poignant episodes in "Chris & Don" recounts the story of Bachardy painting Isherwood as he was dying.

"It wasn't death Chris was afraid of, but dying," Bachardy recalls. "His dying was something we were doing together."

Painting Isherwood, he explains, was a way to be with him as much as possible during the experience.

"We had already established the habit of sittings," Bachardy explains. "He was my first live sitter. It was his suggestion that he offered himself to me as a subject."

The paintings, seen in the film, are among the artist's best. The canvas Bachardy painted of his lover is seen in a visit to the atelier, and it is masterful. Isherwood sports a blue shirt painted in such a way that makes his soulful visage seem to float. It is a haunting, beautifully realized work.

The artwork and books that surround him in his home are constant, almost nagging reminders of Isherwood, but Bachardy enjoys having them everywhere.

"What a wonderful thing to be reminded of [Chris]," he says. "This house is packed with memories. He is very much with me still. I cultivate his presence. It is a very essential part of my life. Whenever I need encouragement, and strength, I think about him - I can't despair."

Bachardy says that making "Chris & Don" was more enjoyable and therapeutic than cathartic or painful. The film is a joyous celebration of a life lived and shared by two men passionately in love.

"Chris was a mentor and guide," Bachardy says. "Of all the gifts he gave me, to find and follow my vocation was the greatest."
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011



http://www.salon.com/ent/critics_picks/2008/06/21/june21/



"Chris & Don: A Love Story"



English writer Christopher Isherwood and American painter Don Bachardy were a Los Angeles power couple decades before anyone had ever said "gay" and "marriage" in the same sentence -- unless they meant a tipsy hetero pair -- but the documentary "Chris & Don: A Love Story" is much more than an illustration that, hey, homos can have real relationships. Isherwood was already a middle-aged famous writer (author of "The Berlin Stories") when he met the much younger Bachardy on Santa Monica Beach in 1952, and in the succeeding years the duo both embodied stereotypes about homosexual love -- theirs was something of a master-pupil relationship, and not altogether monogamous -- and uprooted them. Direction by Tina Mascara and Guido Santi is straightforward, but this appealing mixture of home movies, contemporary interviews and animation captures the spirit of a pioneering sexual, personal and artistic partnership and the remarkable literary-artistic circle -- Aldous Huxley, Bertrand Russell and Igor Stravinsky were among their friends -- that nurtured it. (Now playing in New York and Rochester, N.Y. Opens July 4 in Los Angeles; July 18 in Boston and San Francisco; July 25 in Chicago, Lake Worth, Fla., Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Diego, Washington and Wilmington, Del.; and Aug. 1 in Atlanta, St. Louis and Seattle, with more cities to follow.)

-- Andrew O'Hehir
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline southendmd

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 14,906
  • well, I won't
Thank you, John.  Because of  your posts, I exchanged tickets at the Ptown film festival in order to see Chris & Don.  I've always enjoyed the documentaries they show, and this was easily the best film we saw this week. 

Also, Were the World Mine was very charming.  The filmmakers were present, and expect distribution in the fall. 
photobucket sucks

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011
Paul, I'm so glad--thanks to Jenny (newyearsday), I was not only able to see Chris & Don in New York, but to meet Don himself at a party afterwards--and I learned that Don is adorable, a real cutie, beautiful inside and out!

Unfortunately, I was later unable to go to the last night of the NY LGB&T Film Festival and I missed Were the World Mine. A very good friend suddenly decided to hold a black tie birthday (Geebus Christu!!!) for another friend, and I could not, in good conscience, go. Other than that, I would have been at the NY premiere--I was SO looking forward to WtWM--oh well, it's GOT to come up soon! Fingers crossed!

I'm glad you and Truman had a good time at the Festival!

Thanks,

John
 :)


John and Friend (Ha! Am I his accessory or is he mine?)
« Last Edit: June 23, 2008, 12:25:23 am by jmmgallagher »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Front-Ranger

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 24,804
  • I'm marching for her!
Gasp! You met Don? Tell us more!!

May 2019 be better for us all.

Offline Ellemeno

  • Town Administration
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 15,367



Geebus Christu, John, you look fantastique!  :-*

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011

Elle, you are too kind--

I remember the Sondheim lyric (A Little Night Music, the opening song 'Now,'):

My body's all right--
But not in perspective
And not in the light--


But thanks!

 ;D
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011
Gasp! You met Don? Tell us more!!

Yes!

Well, again, thanks to Jenny (newyearsday), we went to the screening for Chris & Don at the New York LGB&T Film Festival on June 7th. Two the producers first introduced the film, then the producers came back out afterwards with Don Bachardy himself, and the crowded theater stood and cheered, a very emotional standing ovation.

Don spoke for quite a while--he's very articulate and drily funny--and then the program coordinator said 'We need the theater back--but if you want to meet Don up close, join us for a party in Don's honor at Plumm (246 West 14th Street between 7th and 8th).' Jenny and I looked at each other and we said "Like, duh--yeah!'

So. We went, hung around, then Don and the entourage walked in, and Jenny and I just zoomed over. Boom, we pounced! We found Don to be delightful, and I finally told him what I had been thinking during his Q&A talk earlier: 'You're beautiful inside and out,' a dumb, but utterly heartfelt thing, and that was it! Jenny and I left as anything else would be too anticlimactical, so we went to Florent on Gaansevort Street (as it is closing June 29)--just a wonderful evening!

If you have a chance to see the movie Chris & Don, go--you won't regret it!

"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *******
  • Posts: 9,562
  • Those were the days, Alberta 2007.
I enjoyed Chris and Don very much, but I thik the timing of Were The World Mine, really drove it home for me.

If you get a chance to see these films, please do so.

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC_Q44P8_m4[/youtube]

Similar:

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7IOlfTcFf4&feature=related[/youtube]

And an interview:

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ao-5d0C2bM&feature=related[/youtube]
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,011
Re: NEW FEST: The 20th Anniversary New York LGB&T Film Festival: Great Movies!
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2008, 11:11:42 am »

Yay! At long last!





Coming Soon
Starts on 11/21/2008

WERE THE WORLD MINE -  (unrated)
2008 - USA - English - 95 minutes - Logo
Directed by: Tom Gustafson
Featuring: Tanner Cohen, Wendy Robie, Judy McLane, Nathaniel David Becker




If you had a love-potion, who would you make fall madly in love with you? Timothy, prone to escaping his dismal high school reality through dazzling musical daydreams, gets to answer that question in a very real way. After his eccentric teacher casts him as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, he stumbles upon a recipe hidden within the script to create the play's magical, purple love-pansy. Armed with the pansy, Timothy's fading spirit soars as he puckishly imposes a new reality by turning much of his narrow-minded town gay, beginning with the rugby-jock of his dreams. Ensnaring family, friends and enemies in this heart-wrenching chaos, Timothy forces them to walk a mile in his musical shoes. The course of true love never did run smooth, but by the end of this moving musical comedy of errors based on director Tom Gustafson's prolific award-winning short film, Fairies, the bumpy ride comes to a heartfelt conclusion. With vibrant imagery, a first-rate ensemble cast and innovative music rivaling the best of pop/ rock and contemporary Broadway, WERE THE WORLD MINE attempts to push modern gay cinema and musical film beyond expectation.

"Critic's Pick - Must See!"
--New York Magazine

"Surpasses in quality almost any competition film from Sundance this year."
--Indiewire.com

"The musical numbers are inventively choreographed and energetically performed...a rousing, warm-hearted spectacle."
--Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"