2007 - United States - 90 minutes
Directors - Tina Mascara and Guido Santi
Internet Movie Database User Rating - 8.2/10 - Link to IMDb
My Rating - 4 of 5 Stars

Christopher Isherwood is probably best known today as the author of the stories that became Cabaret. He created some vivid images of Germany between the two world wars. He was a charming man who was well known by authors and movie people having moved to Los Angeles in 1939. He was also an openly gay man at a time when most were in the closet. He was very sexually active but had just two great loves in his life. One was a young man in Germany and the other, Don Bachardy, is the source of this documentary.

Bachardy was thirty years Isherwood’s junior and states in the film that he first met Isherwood in 1952 when he was about sixteen years old. Don remembers that it was his older brother who was first Isherwood’s occasional lover, and that he and Isherwood never had any sort of sexual liaison until Don was eighteen.

As their relationship developed, they not only fell in love with each other, but Christopher became Don’s mentor encouraging him to attend art school. Before this time, Bachardy was at somewhat loose ends being surrounded by famous, successful people with no real claim to fame of his own. He states how - at the beginning of their relationship - people at parties would carry on a conversation with him when he was with Isherwood, but ignore him if he were off by himself.

Through all of this, Isherwood’s love for Don bolstered him until he became a successful portrait artist. Their love with its ups and downs lasted some thirty-two years until Isherwood’s death in 1986.

Barchardy is certainly an interesting man and an artist who creates striking portraits. Listening to him reminisce of his life gives insight into a special period of time in Hollywood and a love that endures forever.

This documentary gives the viewer a good feeling about life and love, and the DVD offers extras that give even more insight into the unique subjects.

Neil Turner
February 25, 2009

Chris & Don: A Love Story