1992 Directed by P.j. Castellaneta. Starring Todd Stites, Terry Curry.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Feb. 26, 1993
During the opening credits of Together Alone, two young men leave a bar, go to one's apartment, have sex, and then turn the lights on, get dressed and talk. In fact, they spend the next 90 minutes engaged in relentless talk. Lest that sound stultifying, it is anything but. Their conversation is marked by its candor and exploratory precision as the topics range from poetry, dream analysis, philosophy and lost opportunities to AIDS, bisexuality, abortion and the politics of sexual position. They are alike yet dissimilar -- this Blond Bryan (Stites) and this Brunette Brian (Curry). Opposites attracting and likenesses repelling, these two characters act out the contradictions of the title -- they are together alone. Certainly the honesty and verisimilitude of the conversation is part of this movie's appeal but its dramatic tension comes from its choreography and pace of revelations. The script (Castellaneta wrote, produced and directed) is a lively pas de deux in which small toe-steps lead minds and bodies to follow. That these actors are each strong enough to sustain these verbose characters for the length of the movie also accounts in great measure for its success. The only time the structure noticeably wavers is during the sentimental monologues that each of them delivers. Together Alone was shot on a shoestring budget in 16mm black-and-white. But Castellaneta uses his financial limitations smartly: a two-character drama, a one-set location, minimal bedroom lighting, a checkerboard quilt as a central, metaphorical set piece. Together Alone played in Austin once before as part of the 1991 Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Though it's slow in coming, it's nice to see this thematically forthright and artistically accomplished “no-budget” movie finally receiving a national marketing push.