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Chris & Don. A Love Story (2007)

2:26 | Trailer
The love story between British writer, Christopher Isherwood (whose book 'The Berlin Stories' inspired the musical and film Cabaret) and Don Bachardy, American portrait artist.
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
W.H. Auden W.H. Auden ... Himself (archive footage)
Don Bachardy Don Bachardy ... Himself
Ted Bachardy Ted Bachardy ... Himself
James Berg James Berg ... Himself (as Jim Berg)
John Boorman ... Himself
Paul Bowles ... Himself (archive footage)
Katherine Bucknell Katherine Bucknell ... Herself
Leslie Caron ... Herself
Eduardo Correia Eduardo Correia ... Ahmed
E.M. Forster ... Himself (archive footage)
Chris Freeman Chris Freeman ... Himself
Charlie Gordon Charlie Gordon ... First Dinner Guest
Kenneth Grimes Kenneth Grimes ... Paul Bowles (as Ken Grimes)
Sara S. Hodson Sara S. Hodson ... Herself
Evelyn Hooker Evelyn Hooker ... Herself (archive footage)


Depicts the remarkable life of artist Don Bachardy and his relationship with the distinguished writer Christopher Isherwood. Includes footage shot by Chris and Don in the 1950s and interviews with Leslie Caron, John Boorman, Liza Minnelli, and others. Isherwood and Bachardy were open about their life together, regardless of the waves it caused. This was during a period when gay relationships were not acceptable. The age difference in their relationship brought obvious personal problems that had to be addressed. Don often felt disregarded by Chris's famous friends and frequently was. Nevertheless, Bachardy pursued his art career with great energy, painting and drawing every day. Finding a vocation gave Don a sense of fulfillment and independence. He began to realize that he could function independently, which made him question whether he wanted to stay with Isherwood. Don toyed with leaving the relationship and striking out on his own, however he decided not to as he realized his love ... Written by Asphalt Stars Productions

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Plot Keywords:

artist | gay | friend | writer | partner | See All (247) »


No one believed they could last so long...


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Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

13 June 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chris & Don: Uma História de Amor See more »

Filming Locations:

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,337, 15 June 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$212,814, 5 October 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


References The Shining Hour (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

First things last
13 June 2009 | by sandoverSee all my reviews

What is love? And how does it exercise us? As, regardless of age or experience, we grope, or dance, or trot, or what you will, our way in life, is there not at some point, for some of us, a deep impact encounter with another person that challenges our expectations, our fears, even our love? Let alone the fact that, for example, a friend's fleeting remark can trigger an unpleasant memory. That much for frailty, for I do not want to deliver any kind of portentous philosophical or psychoanalytic sketch as a response to the film, but there was one thing, one thing if you may, that touched me profoundly, and although it shows, I think, an immense refinement and spontaneity of affect, it is of the simplest logical necessity!

First things first! you may say, if you still read this.

Like, this is a documentary concerning two men, two artists, in love, in a relationship for more than thirty years, along with geography, exile, backgrounds, celebrities, chronology, hilarity, love and its discontents making for a (dual) portrait.

Like Chris Isherwood, a somewhat canonical writer, mostly for his Berlin stories, living the 20th century passion in an insouciant pre-fascist Germany, ends up in Hollywwod, California coming from rural upper-class England, and, past middle age, he encounters a charming adolescent who ends up the love of his life. A worthy artist, also.

Like all that this entails, what is influence, what are the stakes, of youth coming into age, into art, jealousy, manhood, disgust for mushrooms (and even worse, where this, combined with canned breakfast, can lead to!), shock treatment, and what is the use of a horse being with a cat, along other matters.

Or even why love is as rare as guts. I felt my saliva freeze in my neck and tears at the back of my eye-bulbs, when Don Bachardy raised to the camera the first drawing of Isherwood's dead head.

Or why love is as frequent as ideology. If one bothers about the same sex marriage issue, thumbs up or down, mildly or not, that is if such a story can trigger a political, ideological statement or pronouncement, then one should bother also for re-balancing the debt towards people shock-treated. Recall how a broken, elderly Ted, Don Bachardy's brother, comes just a couple of minutes after the sly editing of his former, radiant and handsome self. And, even more sobering, how his brother's voice says, in a tone hurt, with all the could-have-beens of a life muffled, and still matter of fact: the shock treatment ruined his life.

But as this, too, begins to smell of ideology, I turn to what, how shall I put it, elevates to a higher degree the linear, ideological, biographical data of the film.

The day Chris Isherwood died, Don Bachardy commenced reading his diaries backwards. He wanted to reach back to their meeting. Now, for me, if there ever was an effective and affective definition of Jean Baudrillard's awkward phrase "Things get their full meaning when played backwards", this is the case!

To make first things last, a true, a truly meaningful act of love!

Like a poem by Elizabeth Bishop, namely her last one, simply and aptly called "Poem". I would like to quote it in extent:

(...) Our visions coincided - "visions" is

too serious a word - our looks, two looks:

art copying from life and life itself,

life and the memory of it so compressed

they've turned into each other. Which is which?

Life and the memory of it cramped,

dim, on a piece of Bristol board,

dim, but how live, how touching in detail

  • the little that we get for free,

the little of our earthly trust. Not much. (...)

Thank you.

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