Less sensational than its title suggests, this short feature doc examines gay male pedophiles from p.o.v. of both their few activist spokesmen and the many enraged opponents. While intelligently weighed and insightful to a degree, the volatile emotions surrounding any discussion of this subject will limit exposure to some gay fests and educational webs.

Less sensational than its title suggests, this short feature doc examines gay male pedophiles from p.o.v. of both their few activist spokesmen and the many enraged opponents. While intelligently weighed and insightful to a degree, the volatile emotions surrounding any discussion of this subject will limit exposure to some gay fests and educational webs.

Free-form but tightly knit effort revolves mostly around interviews with confessed “boy-lovers” and the hostile reactions their beliefs (most claim celibacy, given legal consequences of acting on desires) draw from surrounding communities. One feels some sympathy for the high school teacher who’s canned simply for expressing his ideas re age-of-consent laws. On the other hand, it’s easy to understand angry, protective stance taken by parents who’d prefer such men run out of town.

Brief historical background shows that adult-child sexual relations have been permitted in some cultures. Other sidelights depict members of controversial advocacy group the North American Man-Boy Love Assn., and the furious reaction they provoke from other participants at a Gay Pride Day march.

In current climate of heightened child-abuse sensitivity, “coming out” as a pedophile seems an act of daring or lunacy, depending on one’s view. Indeed, some of the subjects here are quite creepy — notably the religio-psychobabble-spouting man who gushingly interprets any trivial encounter with local lads in flirtatious terms.

Though pic negotiates heated issue informatively, a longer running time would have permitted deeper scrutiny. Could any clinical evidence of former “boy” subjects be found to buttress NAMBLA’s claim that such relationships can be harmless, or even beneficial? The thorniest moral question here — how can “consent” be gauged when emotional/sexual maturity itself is variable? — goes basically uncommented upon.

Good editing and OK lensing and sound lend package feel of a locally produced TV doc.

Chicken Hawk

(DOCU -- 16mm)

Production

A Stranger Than Fiction Films presentation of a Side Man production. Produced , directed by Adi Sideman. Executive producers, Sam Sideman, Peter Smith.

Crew

Camera (color), Nadav Harel; editor, Harel; narrators, Barbara Adler, Mimi Turner; associate producers, Andrea Wolf, Annat and Assaf Keller, Gal Gotsegen. Reviewed at San Francisco Intl. Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, June 12, 1994. Running time: 58 MIN.
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