Shepard and Dark

Here are the details on the movie: Sam Shepard is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor. Johnny Dark is a recluse and odd-jobber who works at a supermarket deli counter in a small town in New Mexico. The two are best friends and have been for decades. Treva Wurmfeld’s poignant documentary, world-premiered at last fall’s Toronto International Film Festival, probes the complexities of friendship, family, masculinity, fame, failure, and creative life as it explores a compelling, complicated odd-couple relationship. Shepard and Dark met in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s and became fast friends. They later became bound by (unconventional) family ties: Dark married a woman named Scarlett, Shepard married Scarlett’s daughter, and they all lived together for years in a communal two-family household. When Shepard abandoned the home to be with actress Jessica Lange, Dark was left to raise Shepard’s son! Shepard and Dark finds the old friends coming together in 2010 to work on a project-a publisher wants to release a collection of their voluminous correspondence—and also finds Shepard in a reflective mood, having just split from Lange. Reunited, Shepard and Dark display all the ease, intimacy, and joviality of old compadres, but Wurmfeld’s warm, deceptively low-key film is also candid about old wounds, lingering resentments, and petty irritants, which threaten to send things sideways.

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