Arthur J. Bressan Jr. (Gay USA) created this gay indie masterpiece in 1985, after more than a decade of making gay adult films. When 25-year-old yuppie David (David Schachter) volunteers to be a “buddy” to an AIDS patient, the community center assigns him to Robert (Geoff Edholm), a 32-year-old gay activist from California who has been abandoned by his friends and lovers. This devastating two-hander (the rest of the cast is heard only off-screen) unfolds within Robert’s Manhattan hospital room; as David gazes out at the piers and rooftops of Manhattan, we hear his deftly scripted diary entries in voiceover. And as David is changed by knowing Robert, so, too, are we. In the simplicity of the story and the elegance of its unfolding, Bressan and Buddies achieve a rare perfection. It’s a timeless portrayal of an entire era in gay history.
The first feature-length drama about AIDS, Buddies has long been unavailable. Frameline is proud to present the world premiere of this new 2K digital restoration created by Vinegar Syndrome; Frameline Distribution will also be handling the distribution of this important film. Frameline and the Shanti Project co-presented the film’s original world premiere on September 12, 1985, at the Castro Theatre, with Bressan and his cast in attendance. Five days later, on September 17, President Ronald Reagan finally uttered the word “AIDS” in public for the first time. Sadly, Bressan and Edholm both died of AIDS, in 1987 and 1989, respectively. David Schachter is alive and well in New York City.
— JENNI OLSON
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
Buddies is provided by Frameline Distribution