Shepard & Dark (2013)
Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark met in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s and, despite leading very different lives, remained close friends ever since. Shepard became a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright (Buried Child) and an Academy Award-nominated actor (THE RIGHT STUFF), while Dark was a homebody who supported himself with odd jobs. Through the decades, they stayed bonded by family ties. Dark married an older woman named Scarlett and Shepard married her daughter. For years, the two couples lived together, until Shepard broke away for a relationship with Jessica Lange in 1983, leaving Johnny to help father his first son. Nevertheless, he and Dark continued writing to each other, amassing hundreds of letters. (c) Music Box … More
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Critic Reviews for Shepard & Dark
There's much to savor in Wurmfeld's insightful and oft-melancholy film about two old friends who've maintained said friendship since 1963.
There is just enough of Shepard's lyrical prose and Dark's depth and humor to whet the appetite. You walk out wanting to read at least a few of them beginning to end.
Instead, after all that effort being put into showing this relationship in its fullest terms, they allow the men to, true to their mythic southwestern surroundings, simply walk into the sunset...
The stress of their reunion yields fascinating insights into Shepard's work.
Both good times and bad bubble back up to the surface, giving the film an unguarded honesty.
A disarming but low-impact documentary that amounts to an odd dual biopic, "Shepard & Dark" can feel a bit like intruding on a conversation between two old friends.
[The] aesthetic structure creates a haunting sense of the simultaneously wonderful and sad feelings both men have about lives and loves now gone, never to be recaptured.
The film points toward a rich and complicated story that only partly makes it onto the screen.
An ode to a long-lost era of bohemia, an insightful look into male psychology and pathology, a valentine to the art of letter writing and an illustration of how the past is never dead, because it's not even past.
Despite its unusual beginnings, the friendship doesn't offer much narrative juice.
Treva Wurmfeld's documentary addresses, and acutely analyzes, the way friendship can bend, and occasionally snap, over time.
Treva Wurmfeld has made a lovely and insightful film, not just about this friendship, but all friendships, and how having people in your life who know you so well can be a comfort and a curse.
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