That Boy

Director: Peter Berlin

USA 1975| Beta Sp PAL| 80 mins

As a companion-piece to Jim Tushinski’s documentaryThat Man: Peter Berlin (Friday 29 July, 14.30), we are screening one of Peter Berlin’s own films, That Boy. Following the international success of his first film, Nights in Black Leather, Peter Berlin wrote, directed and starred in this 1975 gay porno classic.
What makes his work so fascinating to a contemporary audience is Peter Berlin’s creation of a new erotic image for gay men. His self-image, the carefully constructed styling to publicly display his sexuality, changed the way gay men the world over could imagine themselves. This was very new territory in gay image-making. It was now possible to imagine a gay man as an object of desire of his own making: gorgeous, narcissistic, powerful.
In an age when ‘gay’ is mainstream it is easy to forget how dangerous and inspiring early erotic imagery was. Gay Liberation made us visible, but Peter Berlin made us both visible and sexualised.
Soft-core by modern standards, That Boy still packs an erotic and voyeuristic punch, and Peter Berlin’s stunning looks still shine, 30 years on.

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