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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie will unfortunately never get the attention it deserves due to the unsettling subject matter, and the potential confusion some people may have between portraying child molesters and supporting them. This movie portrays several of the members of a group called NAMBLA, whose members promote child molestation as a viable and healthy activity and as even go so far as to claim that it is beneficial to the molested children. It resists the temptation to condemn them, and instead gives them enough rope to hang themselves, which they do. I say this movie is an absolute for any aspiring documentarian because it's very educational on the issue of objectivity. Although there is no voice-over condemning the pedophiles, the audience will leave with the message that these people are perverts and predators. Why? Simply because they *are* perverts and predators, and any objective portrayal of the subject cannot avoid making that clear. It seems almost as if the filmmakers go out on a limb to "show both sides" (witness the negative behavior of the KKK-like anti-nambla group that the filmmakers show), the pedophiles still end up the bad guys of the film, simply because they are the bad guys in real life and any footage of them shows it (I won't list a spoiler, but look at the last shot in the film for a great example of this). This is also an excellent psychological study of how some people, pedophiles in particular, will lie to themselves in order to remain happy. For example, see how the character Leland constantly talks about how it's the children who really go out of their way to "seduce" him, but then when we actually see footage of him interacting with a child outside a store, it becomes clear that he is the predator in the situation and that the child wants to leave, but in the interview after that scene, Leland STILL describes it in terms of the child "flirting" with him. The film makes clear that these people can only live with themselves by constructing an elaborate fantasy world.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was an unlucky kid and grew up in the 1960s in a small town where
several boys fell prey to a pedophile.
This film shows how easy it is for pedophiles to pick up naïve boys. I think this film should be shown to every school-age boy as self-defense training.
One member of NAMBLA casually mentions how easy it is to pick up boys and the camera follows him into a mall where he leads boys out to the parking lot, aborting his plans just as the boys are about to climb into his van. Chilling!
In 1994 I attended a Queer Symposium held during Gay Games in New York. The rules for the crowd were that anyone who identified as "queer" was invited to participate. When representatives from NAMBLA arrived, organizers of the symposium had to quiet the crowd from the stage and moderate the heated audience Q&A.
When I went to see this film, I noticed that most of the sparse audience was sunk down in their chairs, wearing hats; it was easy to spot who was there out of morbid curiosity and who came out of livid interest.
"Chicken Hawk" is aptly titled and wickedly unabashed. Child molesters and pedophiles are complex in their desires, and if one can get past the initial repulsion, these are just men who have justified their aberrant behavior. They don't question it, they embrace it and have found a support system. That is scary.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a really strange documentary that is literally about men who
love boys, one of their major groups in NAMBLA, and it gives the men a
chance to explain their side of the issue somewhat.
This movie is in no way, shape or form anything other then neutral. We get experiences and defenses from the boy lovers, people who were molested by men as youngsters, psychologists, and members of the gay and lesbian community. If anything, the boy lovers get the most screen time, which allows them to convey their feelings, and also to show what disturbing people they are.
Three scenes stand out; the first was one of the boy lovers talking with a young boy outside a shop, his eyes studying him, checking to see if he had a chance to bed him. The next was NAMBLA trying to march in a gay/lesbian parade, with other marchers telling them to get lost, and the last was of a boy lover receiving obscene messages on his phone, and a congregation of people outside his apartment shouting anti-NAMBLA slogans. The last scene mentioned almost makes you feel a little sorry for him, except on his walls are hand-painted pictures of boys with long penises, and the fact that he screws boys.
Overall, I thought this was a well done documentary, who showed us for the first time what kind of filth these people are.
NAMBLA is the "North American Man Boy Love Association", and it is one
of the stupidest things on our planet. As a person who believes that
pedophiles have the power to be sympathetic and good people as long as
they get help and refuse to act on their urges, NAMBLA is just plain
disgusting. Instead of trying to get help and prevent urges, they want
support for their urges!
Obviously, a documentary about such an association that mostly features interviews with members will be filled with eye rolling, cringe-worthy moments-and it sure is! But, boy (no pun intended), is it interesting! This is among the most fascinating documentaries I've seen recently, because it refuses to condemn or praise such a group, therefore it has kind of split audiences in half and has created some controversy. People have labeled it as being everything from an anti- gay film to a pro-pedophilia film. In my opinion, it is neither of these. It mainly serves as a mostly anti-NAMBLA film just because of how little logic the members use and how creepy and disgusting they seem, despite the narration and film making style remaining totally neutral. Perhaps, it was best for the filmmakers to stay far away from any manipulative tactics, because the film is powerful and strange in its own special way. Also, there's plenty of unintentional humor throughout, such as the simultaneously cringey, disgusting, and funny moments with the absolutely demented Leyland Stevenson, a soft- speaking, yellow sweater wearing, delusional creep that attempts to defend himself while failing hilariously.
Too soul destroying to even watch for more then 10 minutes followed by bits and pieces of the film...These men are interested in children, not just teenage boys as the person above says from Sweden where child porn ownership was legal.Still is? The film quality is semi poor and it is interesting to note gay men/women wish to have no association with these people.I know the damage childhood sexual abuse can do to a child and to paint this film in rainbow colors and say it is wonderful is bullshit. Hebophile is someone who lusts after 11-14 years old pubescent children.Read The Courage to Heal. And do not believe the tripe about kids wanting the experiences. A responsible adult would say no and tell the parents.The child needs therapy-not sex.
Chicken Hawk is a documentary that sheds a strange, immoral light on the world of pedophiles and more so the perverted and disillusioned group known as NAMBLA, aka the North American Man Boy Love Association. At first, I was unsure of the film's authenticity, but as it progressed, the various scenes and spots these men haunted validated its realness, which in turn, increased its disturbing effect. These homosexual men are as insane as any non-institutionalized person could be. They rant and explain how these children are in fact "flirting" and "desiring" such communication, with such a bizarre eloquence and intellectual manner, that is indeed interesting to listen to their bewilderingly, sick diatribe. The film is definitely con pedophiles, as would be any sane production company, but I believe the picture could have been a little more polished if it had kept a more neutral stance. Very decent documentary on the whacked out organization that is NAMBLA.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Superficially at least, this film is as value-neutral a portrayal of
its subject matter - homosexual ephebophile men who divert their
interests into political lobbying, as you are going to get. Absent are
the imposing, moralising commentary, off-target references to
pedophiles and highly biased samples present in most treatments of
pederasty. The producers present as interested parties who are willing
to absorb a range of viewpoints without forcing any clear agenda, be it
of the right-religious or femino-victimological persuasion. What we
discover is a group of political outcasts who are now seen as
increasingly out of favour, even among a gay movement that originally
had written into its stonewall declaration - the abolition of all age
of consent laws. As an organisation, NAMbLA is a political hot-potato,
a historical and cultural curiosity and a whole load of baggage,
already well past its effective lifespan when the film was made.
Nevertheless, the documentary fails to go beyond interviewing those-who-shout-the-loudest in a way that - as already pointed out, involves somewhat editorially suspect subtleties. The use of music to infer emotional states, the exclusion of all but two or so contrarian anecdotes of man-boy sex (the bread and butter of most literature on gay youth and older men) and the bizarre over-focus on Leland Stevenson and his suicidally contrived romanticising of anal sex and intergenerational "flirtation" all pay testimony to that. Understandably, most organisations as severely ostracised and fringe in nature as NAMbLA attract their fair share of loose-screws. Maybe this was why "Chicken Hawk" left at least one battle-scarred queer and long-time mentor of gay-youth with a strong impression that the whole story had not quite been told. A closer focus on the group's more pragmatic members would have been at least a small improvement to a documentary that even left one reviewer under the illusion that - as demonstrated by the comments here on IMDb, a decidedly milquetoast teenboy-lover such as Renato was out "molesting" the local game.
Nevertheless, don't let these rather personal complaints distract you from viewing this fascinating portrayal of politics and pederasty in the modern world - available, as I write, on YouTube.com. Things have moved on considerably since "Chicken Hawk" was shot, but the sheer rarity of the information on show makes it a must-watch for all appreciators of sexual politics and philosophy.
I felt that the underlying treatment of this documentary was generally
hostile to a fair understanding of men who love boys and
the message we have for society.
There were many "cheap shots" which I saw Adi taking in his film. Incidentally, not towards both sides, equally, but only towards boy lovers. There were technical maneuvers, such as making close-ups on people's teeth, or looking up at Leyland while he drove-and panning on old, dead trees they passed. And the music that was used-stuff that added to an emotion of we boy lovers not being all there, and even pathological.
Now, if Adi had made such a film about black men who loved white women in the 1920s, people would see what I'm talking about. You'd have a movie of "pure" interviews and images from that time. There would be no attempt at analysis. The result would be a film in which there would be a huge uproar in society about the way in which no one attempted to humanize the black men adequately. Adi's career might be ruined before it even started. And you can bet that he would not even begin to allow himself to make an oversight like that.
To conclude, i say that "CHICKEN HAWK: Men Who Love Boys" as a film is in the grey area between a constructive communication to the public, and a destructive one. For the media literate it should hold intriguing questions that can be thought about at length before coming to tentative conclusions. For the media illiterate, the film will most certainly be just one more reason to enhance and enable the increasing psychiatrick-industrial complex. They won't desire to look at we "perverts" as individuals, nor wonder how the film-maker got so close to such people who are supposedly forever "beyond the reach" of "ill-equipped" and "weak budgeted" law enforcement agencies. They'll just foam at the mouth and want to KILL KILL KILL like good citizens are supposed to do at the whim of imposed authority.
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