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Chris + Don: A Love Story

The faithful and imaginative love story of Isherwood and Bachardy
By JAMES PARKER  |  July 16, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
chrisanddonINSIDE.jpg

“It’s time that the tale were told,” sings Morrissey in “Reel Around the Fountain,” “of how you took a child, and you made him old.” When Christopher Isherwood spotted the teenage Don Bachardy on a Santa Monica beach in 1952, he did not hesitate to enact this most hallowed of gay archetypes. “He took this young boy,” recalls Bachardy with relish in Tina Mascara & Guido Santi’s Chris and Don, “and he taught him all sorts of wicked things. It was just what the boy wanted.”

Isherwood was a celebrated and immensely sophisticated literary figure, a star of the Auden generation, an Englishman living a kind of exilic idyll in California. In short order he had his pliant Angeleno lover speaking in the unlikely accents of an Edwardian dowager, and the two settled into an upsy-downsy romance that would be ended only by Isherwood’s death in 1986. Chris & Don tells the tale faithfully and imaginatively, from the night they both got horribly stoned in Tangier (“Paul Bowles suddenly seemed a very sinister character to me”) to the steady development of Bachardy’s talent as a painter. Isherwood, a student of the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta, came to believe that his love for Bachardy was his path to spiritual ennoblement. As this portrait of a marriage unfolds — a marriage consecrated by nothing more or less than its own huge store of passion and forgiveness — it’s hard not to imagine that he was on the right track. 90 Minutes | Kendall Square

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  Topics: Reviews , Paul Bowles, Guido Santi, Tina Mascara,  More more >
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