The typography of bidding farewell: Buddies (1985)

“Buddies” – the cinematic swan song of noted gay pornographer Arthur J. Bressan Jr. – is a highly unusual film, less as a result of the obvious expectations evoked by a small scale and utterly devoid of explicit sex chamber piece between just two characters of importance, more because of its striking insistence to structure a visual narrative entirely around its main character’s chosen profession. David Bennett (David Schachter) is a timid young typesetter through a voluntary programme assigned as buddy to formerly outspoken gay rights activist Robert Willow (Geoff Edholm), a man inescapably and quite miserably dying from AIDS in the dull confines of his hospital bed. Both men slowly grow accustomed to each other, share sometimes heated, sometimes aperitive discourses on coming out, the pitfalls of publishing ardently anti-gay voices’ epistles first, then a good laugh watching old holiday videos and lastly the scant intimate moments their surroundings and Robert’s illness permit. Hardly a minute of film is lacking either man’s presence and yet almost everything we see stems directly from the eyes of David, or rather his hands – for they create what we absorb. Stories of last breaths sighed in the shadows, of individuals turned into mere numbers by the frightening grip of a cold, non-selective pandemic defying any try at emotional apprehension. Weiterlesen…