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3.4 out of 5 stars12
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 15 April 2010
This 70 minute documentary covers the period from 1969 (the Stonewall Riots) to 1981 (AIDS), regarded (with no shortage of hyperbole) as 'the most libertine era the Western world has known since Rome'. The film focuses its attention on the importance of openly-expressed physicality for homophile males, against the context of pre-Stonewall 'closeted' behaviours. (It is notable that the documentary refers exclusively to New York, regrettably avoiding the scenes then unfolding in other parts of the country such as San Francisco.)

Visually, the documentary employs many photographs from the era, interspersed with occasional video footage. (Facial hair, tight jeans, and short-shorts aplenty!). Structurally, it comprises interviews with those who were present at the time, including such figures as photographer Tom Bianchi and writer Larry Kramer. Interviewees discuss not only their physical encounters, but also the proliferation of erotica, bathhouses, disco and drugs in the New York of the 1970s. What is particularly striking is the pride felt by the participants (for many of them, for the first time in their lives).

Inevitably(?), the documentary closes with the onset of AIDS. While not explicitly attributing 'causal' lines, this organisation of the material unfortunately narrows any possible analysis of the diverse practices that resulted in the reactionary regressions of the late-70s and '80s. For example, there is no mention of socio-economic context, such as the economic individualism ushered in by the Regan-era, the impact of feminism, or the rise of the Religious Right. Consequently, the viewer is left with the impression that it was the outbreak of AIDS that brought an end to this 'golden era' - obfuscating the fact that the various fascisms had set in well *before* the arrival of AIDS: the activism of Bryant/Densen-Gerber, feminists such as Dworkin and MacKinnon, and the "Take Back the Night" marches of the late-70s - none of which receive any mention.

Provided the film is taken at face value - as a purely nostalgic celebration of an era, rather than as critical analysis - then it serves entertainment purposes, and as such will likely reach its target audience. The strength of the documentary can be situated here: a highly-stylised re-creation of a sense of openness, freedom - briefly discovered and then lost - during the iconic "70s".
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 15 January 2012
This is a documentary from the film maker Josephn Lovett, he actually appears in this too. He tracks gay life in New York from 1969 and the Stonewall riots, to 1981 and the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. It uses a mix of still photos, interviews and archive film from the era to tell the tale.

It is said that this period was the most sexually liberating since the times of the Roman Empire and that certainly seemed to be the case. Absolutely everyone seemed to be having more sex than they could handle, at one time one of the commentators called it the `narcotic of sex'. It was a bit like the old advert for `Martini' - `anytime, anyplace, anywhere etc'. There are some heart felt pieces about the repression that was taking place before the change in attitude, and sadly a lot of that still exists like the religious cures for being gay and even then the use of electro shock therapy as well as medication. It was also classified as a deviant mental illness.

We are taken on a tour of saunas, night clubs, back rooms, sub ways and the disused piers that used to line the Hudson. There were also the back of the `meat trucks', where you basically took a chance by entering (no pun intended) and as one guy says if you managed to leave with an orgasm and your wallet then you were doing fine. We are given a taste of the politics, the drug use and the eventual wake up call that was AIDS. There are some genuinely touching moments when some of the participants talk about lost loved ones and we are not talking a few but way too many who were taken too soon.

I genuinely liked this documentary, it is only 71 minutes long and I would have liked to have seen more footage of the era and more of the music too, but that is my choice, this never portrayed itself as a gay disco party after all. For anyone interested in gay history this is pretty much a must see. It is only limited to New York so may seem a bit parochial given the title; for lovers of period gay cinema, I can recommend `Taxi zum Klo'Taxi Zum Klo [DVD] and `Nighthawks' Nighthawks/Strip Jack Naked - Nighthawks 2 [DVD] [1978] both truly excellent.
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on 31 July 2010
Asks the theme song to this tale of New York liaisons, and it's clear that many people did. The story of gay lives and loves since the Stonewall riots, up to the AIDS crisis, is told through a combination of talking heads and archive footage. I personally could watch footage of 1970's New York all day long, so the clips of proudly moustachio'd chaps frollicking in Central Park etc. were right up my alley. Whether on a 'ramble' or on the 'trucks', or perhaps at the St Mark's bath house, it's clear that the sexual liberation following the sixties offered ample opportunities for inter moustache intercourse. Some of the remeniscences are not for the faint hearted or the maiden aunt, but the stories of nocturnal public/steamy/anatomically hazardous rumpy pumpy are infused nicely with a sense of bygone friendship and affection.

In contrast to what some of the interviewees had to say (on a different topic) my only complaint was that it could have been longer...
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This film shows you the reality of a city at a particular time, a very special time if you happened to be gay! There was so much sex going on in New York it was really amazing, with a kind of innocent enjoyment, or so it seems with hindsight, that has been lost today. In fact what strikes me after seeing it is how cold and sexless things are today, where sex is primarily a commodity or co-opted into family values. The sense of people being prepared to go with the moment with a real person in front of them has been completely undermined by website hook-ups, which is a great shame - not so much for me, but for younger people. The period has always interested me for its novels, particularly the Violet Quill writers like Andrew Holleran and Robert Ferro, so to see it given visual representation risked spoiling my idealised fantasy, but actually it has left it intact! The footage in this film is just extraordinary, very sexy, and full of atmosphere and delight. The piers and the trucks by the Hudson River, the various bars, the street parades, the saunas, Fire Island - it is all here in abundance. It makes me feel so nostalgic for 70s shorts (will shorter, shinier shorts ever make a comeback? I despair of ever seeing them in the streets again ... ) And the thirteen talking heads all shed interesting light on the era, in quite different ways. The artist with his broken pieces of porcelain, each with a portrait of a friend who died in the following decade, is one of the most touching, as is Tom Bianchi, and a wonderful black guy who lays particular emphasis on the feeling of friendship that passed between people even though the currency was sex. And Larry Kramer is very affecting ... but everyone is, including the director himself, who briefly appears. It makes you feel proud to belong to such a group of people who have such humanity and candour - definitely something to live up to.
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on 12 May 2010
The title is a little misleading since it only tells the story of gay sex in New York City in the 70's, but oh well I still enjoyed the film and tripped out on all the archival photos and video especially the gay docks and St. Mark's Baths! That was crazy!

My main beef though is there just wasn't enough meat to the story. Yea, everybody is having sex, sex, sex nonstop, but hearing about it over and over got kinda repetitive. I wish there had been some interviews with somebody other than just the sex participants like city officials or doctors to look at the story from a different perspective. Also a brief introduction would have been nice, people mentioned "stonewall" a few times but I have no idea what that is. It was never explained. Still worth watching.

For those out there keeping score: numerous rear nudity, brief frontal nudity and no penetration.
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on 19 September 2014
My close friend Dan from Tamworth often tells me this is his 2nd favourite title. Not quite the masterpiece of Barberella but the fact he rates it above Muscle Beach Party tells you all you need to know. Recommended.
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on 13 June 2010
This 70 minute documentary covers the period from 1969 (the Stonewall Riots) to 1981 (AIDS), regarded (with no shortage of hyperbole) as 'the most libertine era the Western world has known since Rome'. The film focuses its attention on the importance of openly-expressed physicality for homophile males, against the context of pre-Stonewall 'closeted' behaviours. (It is notable that the documentary refers exclusively to New York, regrettably avoiding the scenes then unfolding in other parts of the country such as San Francisco.)

Visually, the documentary employs many photographs from the era, interspersed with occasional video footage. (Facial hair, tight jeans, and short-shorts aplenty!). Structurally, it comprises interviews with those who were present at the time, including such figures as photographer Tom Bianchi and writer Larry Kramer. Interviewees discuss not only their physical encounters, but also the proliferation of erotica, bathhouses, disco and drugs in the New York of the 1970s. What is particularly striking is the pride felt by the participants (for many of them, for the first time in their lives).

Inevitably(?), the documentary closes with the onset of AIDS. While not explicitly attributing 'causal' lines, this organisation of the material unfortunately narrows any possible analysis of the diverse practices that resulted in the reactionary regressions of the late-70s and '80s. For example, there is no mention of socio-economic context, such as the economic individualism ushered in by the Regan-era, the impact of feminism, or the rise of the Religious Right. Consequently, the viewer is left with the impression that it was the outbreak of AIDS that brought an end to this 'golden era' - obfuscating the fact that the various fascisms had set in well *before* the arrival of AIDS: the activism of Bryant/Densen-Gerber, feminists such as Dworkin and MacKinnon, and the "Take Back the Night" marches of the late-70s - none of which receive any mention.

Provided the film is taken at face value - as a purely nostalgic celebration of an era, rather than as critical analysis - then it serves entertainment purposes, and as such will likely reach its target audience. The strength of the documentary can be situated here: a highly-stylised re-creation of a sense of openness, freedom - briefly discovered and then lost - during the iconic "70s".
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on 23 February 2015
Brings back the memories of those hidden lusts
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on 28 May 2015
Brilliant evocation of a lost world. Funny, touching and inspiring.
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on 17 April 2015
Very interesting dvd I enjoyed it, blast from the past.
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