The uncomfortable clash between self-preservation and sexual hedonism during the outbreak of Aids in New York is captured in this engrossing and angry documentary. Packing a hell of a lot into a slim running time, this expertly argued and solidly constructed film paints the ’80s gay scene as an enclosed world of obsessive self-gratification where the righteous political solidarity seen recently in Gus Van Sant’s ‘Milk’ is a thing of the past. At its centre is a series of interviews with the ultra-charismatic Richard Berkowitz, a gay, bitchy and intelligent former S&M hustler, author and activist who lives alone, broke and HIV positive. He’s an ambiguous, tragic subject, frank in his descriptions of the good old bad old days and miffed that he never got recognition for his early espousal of safe sex.
Friday April 10 2009
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