Heavy Petting

Film, Documentaries

Time Out says

A documentary whose subject matter (sexual initiation and education) tempted assorted celebrities and intellectuals to recount their earliest intimate encounters. Sandra Bernhard let a boy see her bottom in return for a fudgsicle, David Byrne wondered if he would use up all his sperm if he masturbated, Spalding Gray ponders whether the raccoon hats so popular during his adolescence were used to stimulate the wearer's genital area. By incorporating archival footage (educational, television, feature films), Benz and his researchers explore shifts in sexual codes of conduct in America from the '50s. They've unearthed some wonders, from How to Say No to Physical Aspects of Puberty; and as newshounds quiz teens about the evils of rock'n'roll, one presenter warns that moral depravity could leave the country vulnerable to Communist conquest. The 'witnesses' lend a structure of sorts; when it works, the material is funny and direct, even though the comparison of the two eras doesn't exactly prove revelatory.

By: CM


Release details

80 mins

Cast and crew

Obie Benz
Suzanne Fenn, Lianne Halfron
David Byrne
Sandra Bernhard
Allen Ginsberg
William Burroughs
Ann Magnuson
Spalding Gray
Josh Mostel
Laurie Anderson
John Oates
Abbie Hoffman
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