Movie Recommendation- Longtime Companion
LONGTIME COMPANION (1989)
Having recently seen the wonderful and heartbreaking documentary We Were Here put me in mind of the great film, Longtime Companion, directed by Norman Rene. While We Were Here is a non-fiction account of the first decade or so of the AIDS crisis in San Francisco, Longtime Companion dramatizes roughly the same time frame in New York City. However, David Weissman & Bill Weber’s was just released (go see it!). Rene’s film came out 1989. In much the same way William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives tackled the plight of recently returned World War II veterans while that plight was still going on, Longtime Companion did not wait for wounds to heal. Its immediacy is felt in every frame and especially in every performance (Bruce Davison was Oscar-nominated for his role). The film doesn’t follow any specific plot but features occasional jumps forward through the decade. It’s not a story but rather a portrait of people surviving and not surviving. Which each leap in the chronology, there are fewer characters still alive. The result is one of the saddest but also one of the most life-affirming movies ever made. The fact that Rene himself died of AIDS complications in 1996 is a regrettable reminder that this film is not the end of the story.