December 1st is World AIDS Day. As the first feature-length film to dramatize the subject of AIDS, Buddies (1985) is a landmark of LGBTQ independent film. When 25 year-old gay yuppie David (David Schachter) volunteers to be a “buddy” to an AIDS patient, the gay community center assigns him to Robert (Geoff Edholm), a 32 year-old politically impassioned gay California gardener abandoned by his friends and lovers. Revolving around the confines of Robert’s Manhattan hospital room, As David gazes out at the piers and rooftops of Manhattan from his hospital room, we hear his deftly scripted diary entries in voice-over. And as David is changed by knowing Robert, so, too, are we. In the simplicity of the story and the elegance of its unfolding, Buddies achieves a rare perfection. It’s a timeless portrayal of an entire era in gay history. And it was influential in changing the perception of HIV.
Writer-director Arthur Bressan scripted Buddies in five days in San Francisco with input from friends with AIDS. It was shot independently in nine days in New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco with a budget of approximately $27,000. Bressan was considerably influenced by classic Hollywood filmmaker Frank Capra (he even interviewed Capra for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine back in the early 1970s). At its heart Buddies clearly reflects the earnest individualistic optimism of such Capra classics as Meet John Doe and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. And like the best of Capra, Buddies manages to capture the emotional and political resonance of an entire era while vividly conveying an ethos of personal political engagement that touches the heart. Capra’s wholesome all-American values included a deep affection for individual activism and protests. Bressan’s updated-for-the-’80s pre-ACT UP All-American values vividly display the Capra influence—which is nowhere more evident than in the film’s final scene. Sadly, filmmaker Arthur J. Bressan and actor Geoff Edholm both died of AIDS, in 1987 and 1989 respectively.
One of the most exciting LGBTQ releases of 2018 is actually a film from 1985. Buddies Is the Gay Classic You’ve Never Seen. -NewNowNext
Buddies is a love story with implications that transcend sexual and political preferences. -Boston Globe
Sat, Dec 1
Tea with the Dames 6:15 @ the IU Fine Arts Theater
Buddies 7pm at the IU Global & International Theater – Two Nights Only!
Eating Animals 8pm @ the IU Fine Arts Theater
Wildlife 8:30 at the IU Global & International Theater
Sun, Dec 2 at Bear’s Place
Eating Animals 3pm – Last Chance!
Tea with the Dames 5:15
Buddies 7:30 – Last Chance!