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That Man: Peter Berlin (2005)

Jim Tushinski , John Waters  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jim Tushinski, John Waters, Armistead Maupin
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Digital Sound, Dolby, Full length, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Water Bearer Films
  • DVD Release Date: June 13, 2006
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,167 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "That Man: Peter Berlin" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Director's commentary
  • Deleted scenes
  • Additional interviews with Peter Berlin and others
  • Still gallery
  • Cast and crew bios

Editorial Reviews

Filmmaker Jim Tushinski traces the life of the artist who was the gay poster boy for the hedonistic and sexually liberated 70s. Extras include deleted scenes, interviews, director's commentary, photo gallery, and cast and crew bios.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anatomy of an icon June 29, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A brilliant film by Jim Tushinski about a fascinating and unforgetable gay icon. Peter Berlin with his chisled abs, smooth skin, Dutchboy haircut, exaggerated (and self-altered) wardrobe, and unflinching gaze epitomized the boldness and sexual freedom that marked gay life in New York and San Francisco in the years immediately following Stonewall. Often referred to as a porn star, he surprisingly only made two erotic films. But like a true icon, he is remembered more for his still images--photographs taken by Robert Mapplethorp or himself, posters and newspaper ads for his movies, and drawings by Tom of Finland. Some of the most fascinating of these still images are the double exposures he took of himself in which, Narcissus like, he seems to be trying to seduce himself. He was extremely conscious of his ability to attract attention and managed to project both an androgynous and hyper-masculine image. Madonna could learn a lot from him should she ever deign to emerge from whatever glen she is lurking in.

Tushiinski does a great job of blending a generous amount of vintage film footage showing Berlin in his heyday with insightful interview clips from people like Armistead Maupin, Jack Wrangler, Wakefield Poole, and John Waters. Skillfully interwoven with these are interview clips with Berlin himself, alive and well and living in San Francisco. At 60, he dresses the same and looks, well, like an older version of himself. Berlin is comfortable talking about himself and needs no prompting from the director. He even provides the voice-over for much of the film. He speaks about his interactions with Andy Warhol and Mapplethorpe, his inability to make any real money, and his close friends who died from "the virus.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent "piece" <G> October 2, 2007
This documentary on Peter Berlin's life is really quite extraordinary. I've know his face and I've known his face since I bought my first porn mag back in the early/mid 80's but I had never put the two together. And, getting to see ALL facets of his work and life, especially all of the amazing self-photography he did, is great. There are so many gay men out there who know his face (or name), like I did, but don't know Peter's full-story...and here it is...and quite and intriguing one it is. They don't make 'em like this anymore...a porn star's shelf life, as is said in the documentary, is about 14 minutes these days, but Peter Berlin and a select few men from the 70's and very early 80's still endure and I believe always will. Well worth your buck both for the biography and for all the images of this stud.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of a unique gay porn icon, our "Garbo" ... August 11, 2008
Growing up gay in the 1970's, one could not help but be aware of the name, persona and photos of Peter Berlin, perhaps the most successful gay model/photographers of the past century. With his clean good looks, longish blonde cut, and defined body, always framed by a series of creative leather and other wardrobes, Berlin was an icon of that decade's gay porn, starring in self-produced vanity pieces like "Nights in Black Leather" and "That Boy" that had extended runs at the gay porn film houses of the time. He was unique at that time when gay society pretty much demanded the "clone look" (short hair, moustache, flannel shirt, jeans, boots), while his look was almost exactly the opposite. Information or interviews about him were few and far between, as the highly personal and reclusive Berlin limited access to get to know the "real" him, preferring to let his photos and people's imaginations carry him to fame.

Thirty years later, this 2005 documentary looks at Peter Berlin from his childhood to the present, getting additional perspectives from those who have known or interviewed him over the years, including author Armistead Maupin, producer/director Wakefield Poole, director John Waters, and fellow porn star Jack Wrangler. At least of the 80 minute running time consists of classic film shot during Berlin's prime, walking the streets of San Francisco, on photo shoots, doing his poses as "street art" in cruising areas, and scenes from his two feature films and several shorts. We learn about travels in Europe, his lifepartner of over 20 years, his friendship with Andy Warhol, and - though I found it hard to believe - the fact that he led a fairly celebate life in San Francisco.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who is Peter Berlin? February 11, 2009
Peter Berlin was a star in the same sense that Edie Sedgewick and similar personalities were: they were extraordinarily famous within an extremely narrow subculture, but that fame did not translate to broader celebrity.

Born Armin Hagen Freiherr von Hoyningen-Huene in 1942 Germany, Belin trained as a photographer and wandered Europe for several years before arriving in San Francisco. There he tapped into the city's gay community and reinvented himself as a street icon, instantly recognizeable for his open shirts, obscenely tight pants, and Dutch-Boy haircut. In 1973 he starred in the X-rated KNIGHTS IN BLACK LEATHER; both the film and Berlin's poster design were widely known. A year later he starred in yet another X-rated film, THAT MAN; he made four short X-rated films; he was also the star of at least four X-rated "loops." Photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe, drawn by Tom of Finland, he was very much an "underground" star.

Berlin, however, had a bit more going for him than an attractive body and a willingness to display it. At some point Berlin began to do his own art work, most of which involved photographing himself in various stages of far-out attire. Although his work hardly places him in the same class as, say, Robert Mapplethorpe or Andy Warhol, it did achieve a following, and is still seen today in various exhibitions, collections, and displays. But time was against him: his favorite subject, his own body, passed its peak of perfection--and in the 1980s AIDS began to unravel the gay culture that had made his celebrity possible.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars MORE THAN JUST TIGHT PANTS
All through my youth and beyond I was fascinated by the image of Peter Berlin and thanks to this insightful documentary, I have at last learned more about him and not just how he... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Anthony McGill
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Berlin, still an Adonas
I grew up and heard of peter berlin and seen pictures of him but didn't know much of him. dvd was very entertaining and found alot more of peter berling and was amazed how old he... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Manny M. Medel
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great movie!
Published 2 months ago by Claudio Marchesoni
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Architype
This movie was fascinating. It gives lots of biographical information about a man who made managing his own image a lucrative means of employment. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Flamengo
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting look inside a legend
I was pleasantly surprised. This was a very well put together documentary. What I learned about Peter Berlin was that he is a complete work of art. Read more
Published on July 8, 2012 by Mr. Kenneth S. Patterson
5.0 out of 5 stars more than a pretty boy...
I had never heard the words "peter berlin" until a few weeks ago; googled him and learned that there was a doc about him available... Read more
Published on December 14, 2009 by Susan Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably potent portrait of a great gay icon.
This documentary focuses on a man who is narcissistic and self-indulgent. Peter Berlin is certainly that. But there is so much more to Peter Berlin. Peter ist kunst. Read more
Published on June 24, 2009 by caliboy
5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable person; so brilliant & iconic!
Back in the 80's, I remember seeing photos of Peter Berlin. I was struck by how different he was from other performers. Read more
Published on May 27, 2009 by Randy E. Halford
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Narcissus
This documentary was surprisingly tasteful, credible, and informative. Even though Peter Berlin represented 1970s "gutter" gay eroticism, the eroticism here is encased as a... Read more
Published on January 7, 2008 by G. Charles Steiner
2.0 out of 5 stars A Thing of Beauty is a Boy Forever
I honestly couldn't say what I was hoping for when I bought this film, but I certainly didn't get it. Read more
Published on January 9, 2007 by Larry D
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