June 12, 2009
Studio: Regent Releasing
Director: Daryl Wein
MPAA Rating: R (for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue and images, and for language)
Official website: SexPositive-themovie.com
Maybe it took somebody with no investment in the sexual-culture wars of the 1980s, like 24-year-old filmmaker Daryl Wein, to rediscover a lightning-rod figure like safe-sex pioneer Richard Berkowitz and present him without prejudice. A one-time S/M hustler, Berkowitz and his friend Michael Callen, supported by controversial AIDS researcher Joseph Sonnabend, began urging gay men to avoid unprotected anal sex as early as 1982 -- and were treated as pariahs by the mainstream gay community. Berkowitz is a fascinating, prickly, decidedly unsaintly character, and Wein's film provides a fascinating and crucial slice of traumatic sexual history that's all but invisible to younger generations.