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Longtime Companion follows the lives of a small circle of friends from the first mention of the disease in the New York Times in 1981. First referred to as "Gay-Related-Immune-Disorder," we watch the effect of the disease as it devastates the lives of our protagonists. Jumping between Manhattan and Fire Island, vignettes carry us from the it-couldn't-happen-to-me mentality of the early days of the disease to the invasive effect it has had on all of our lives, today. The title of the film comes from the New York Times' refusal to acknowledge homosexual relationships in their obituary section during this period. Instead, survivors were referred to as "Longtime Companions" of the deceased.Written by
Mark Fleetwood <email@example.com>
In the poster art and DVD cover, the image of the guys walking on the beach has been altered - some might say censored. In the scene where the poster/cover image is taken from in the movie, the character "Fuzzy" is wearing an ACT-UP t-shirt that depicts two sailors kissing with the tag line that read "Read My Lips", a play on then President Bush's "Read My Lips, No New Taxes" slogan. In the cover art, the t-shirt graphic has been removed so that he only has a blank white t-shirt now. In the film scene, in contrast to the poster scene, "Fuzzy" also has shaved off his beard. See more »
In the segment marked "July 3, 1981" people dance to the song "Do You Wanna Funk?" by Sylvester, but this song was not released until 1982. See more »
As far as I know, Longtime Companion, released in 1990, is the first American motion picture to deal head on with AIDS (whereas Philadelphia (1993), staring Tom Hanks, receives the honor of the first STUDIO film about AIDS). Made on an obviously minuscule budget, this film nevertheless captures an honesty about AIDS and its effects through touchingly real vignettes of a the lives of a group of friends. Some of these mini-stories fall a bit flat, and the film's politics at times seems overly optimistic -- we're supposed to believe that on a TV soap opera a full and deep man-on-man kiss would have happened in 1984.
The unfettered filmmaking and straightforward acting (especially by the subsequently Oscar nominated Bruce Davison), however, keep both the story and the audience grounded -- there are several scenes that seemed so very real that my heart truly ached for these characters. In today's age of expanded understanding of the homosexual heart (that it is, in fact, in no way different from any other heart), the Longtime of Longtime Companion may not seem too terribly extraordinary; within the context of American cinema, however, I have a feeling that history will see this film for the landmark it truly is.
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