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'Sex Positive' documents the pioneers of safe sex

Daryl Wein's documentary focuses on three men who made a difference as the AIDS crisis broke in the '80s.

June 14, 2009|Gary Goldstein

While Wein was comfortable incorporating these graphic images -- as well as the more candid specifics of Berkowitz's sex worker experiences -- into the finished film, Berkowitz was less sanguine. "It was a battle," said the activist. "From the start, Daryl wanted me to talk about being an S&M hustler and what I did. I only wanted to talk about it vis-a-vis what I wanted a new generation -- one that was denied effective safe sex education under the last eight years of George Bush -- to understand about what's been lost about safe sex history."

"It never really felt much like a battle," countered Wein. "For the most part, we were always on the same page."

Wein added, "My generation is so used to seeing graphic material, it takes a lot to shock us. I wasn't trying to shock anyone though. I just put in as much as was needed to tell the story."

No matter, Berkowitz has made peace with his cinematic portrait. "Who I was and what I know is what helped me discover safe sex and save lives," he concluded. "That's what's most important."

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