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Photo Credit :: MRNY
Arts & Entertainment
Chris and Don: A Love Story
by Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
April 29, 2008 
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They met on Santa Monica Beach.  Chris was 46 and Don was 16.  For a few months, Chris slept with Don’s 18-year-old brother, Ted, but it soon became obvious that the real attraction was between Chris and Don.  That would be Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, of course, the subject of Chris and Don: A Love Story.  Sensitively directed by Guido Santi and Tina Mascara, this ninety-minute documentary of one of the world’s most beloved and admired gay couples tells a love story as captivating and inspiring as any of the Hollywood films that Don Bachardy cherished as a boy in Southern California.

With Bachardy providing his point of view as the camera follows him through his daily routines, and Michael York reading in voiceover from the diaries of Christopher, the film is fleshed out with gorgeous home movies from the couple’s first flirtations on the California beaches.  To see Don Bachardy as a youth with his coltish spirit and his gap-toothed smile is to recall the days of Athletic Model Guild models—and to better pinpoint the antecedents of Bruce Weber’s pulchritudinous work for Abercrombie & Fitch.  

More than titillating, however, the film’s true focus remains on the depth of connection between Chris and Don.  And the use of animated cartoon animals to highlight the individual natures of the two men, as well as their interdependence, is both charming and deeply touching.  It’s all but a certainty that any LGBT person viewing this film will feel a renewed sense of respect for those who have helped pave the road before us, as well as a desire to live one’s own life with the courage of one’s own convictions. 

And where better to celebrate the likes of Chris and Don and everything else fabulous than the Setai, the setting for the post-screening party, sponsored by Edison Farrow’s Sobe Social Club.  The signature ‘tini of the night was called the Chris-and-Don, a bracing combination of gin, brandy, Cointreau, and Benedictine, with as much color as a Pacific sunset.  Here’s to Chris and Don—and the MGLFF!