Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer’s End

Director: Monte Bramer
Screenwriters: Monte Bramer

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Paul Monette wrote sixteen books, including the 1988 groundbreaking work Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir that helped humanize the AIDS plague and accurately portrayed gay love and relationships and his autobiography, Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story, that won the National Book Award in 1992. Two-and-a-half years before his death from AIDS in February of 1995, he joined forces with Monte Bramer and Lesli Klainberg to become part of this remarkable film project. Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer's End chronicles a life dedicated to creativity, political activism, and personal introspection.

Bramer and Klainberg explore Paul’s life from his seemingly idyllic New England boyhood to his closeted adolescence and bumpy raise to fame as a successful writer. Using over thirty hours of footage, shot with Paul at regular intervals which studies close up his personal journey through AIDS and includes his home movies and photographs, and layered with interviews with friends and family who knew him best, Paul Monette is a beautifully crafted film biography that is a lasting tribute to one of the great creative forces of our time. Although the film resonates with historical significance, its power lies in a perfect blending of Monette’s personal and professional lives, for rarely has there been a writer where the two were so intertwined. As should be the case, it is Paul who is most memorable in the film, with all his humor, courage, and bravado, but always his dedication to making the world a better place for all.

Bramer and Klainberg testify, “As difficult as it was for Paul to have his privacy invaded on a day-to-day basis, he remained committed to the project because he was convinced telling this part of his story might be useful to others.” So it was in his literary work as well. Monette was a writer who touched others with his life. Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer's End is a film lovingly made by those who knew him . . . for those of us who wish we had.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards


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