That Man: Peter Berlin | Chicago Reader

That Man: Peter Berlin

With his Tarzan physique, Dutch-boy haircut, and cucumber crotch, model and gay erotica legend Peter Berlin set a standard for masculinity in the 70s. Jim Tushinski's video documentary reveals how the German-born Berlin cultivated his iconic image by photographing himself for magazine layouts and directing two Warholian porn features before abruptly retiring from filmmaking. Now in his 60s and living in relative seclusion in San Francisco, the proudly narcissistic star of That Boy reflects on his career in interviews that are intercut with vintage footage and the reflections of people such as Armistead Maupin and John Waters. Despite Berlin's frankness about his personal love life and his preference for being watched when he's not having sex, the Garbo of gay porn remains elusive, largely because Tushinski doesn't seem to see the ironies and contradictions in his subject's life. He's much better when exploring Berlin's aesthetic and working methods. 80 min.

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