The Last Time I Saw Ron

Leslie Thornton

1994 | 00:12:11 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: AIDS/HIV, LGBTQ, Performance

During the winter of 1994, actor Ron Vawter was in Brussels working on a theater production about the mythical Greek warrior, Philoketes. Philoketes was abandoned by Odysseus on the island of Lemnos after he had been bitten by a snake while on route to Troy. He was betrayed by Odysseus because his wound would not heal, provoking mournful cries and a stench that distressed the other soldiers. When Ron was diagnosed with AIDS this story of anguish and isolation took on added poignancy, and he arranged to collaborate with Dutch director Jan Ritsema on a theatrical production inspired by the myth. An international group of artists came together to develop Philoketes Variations under the auspices of the Kaaitheater in Belgium. Ron passed away just as the production reached fruition.

The Last Time I Saw Ron is made from footage shot for the play, and includes stunning material of Ron’s figure flying through the cosmic and destructive events. A pregnant woman drifts alongside him as his body merges with the time and space of the universe. The video is a moving meditation on the power of art as a life-giving force, and one man’s extraordinary belief in that power.

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Exhibitions + Festivals

Dallas Video Festival, 1994

Internationale Kurtzfilmtage Oberhausen (Germany), 1996