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31 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Good movie for a documentary class and a Psychology class

9/10
Author: (utahfilmmaker@hotmail.com) from Utah
19 January 2002

*** 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.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The ultimate HORROR show

8/10
Author: Film-Slave from United States
8 January 2010

*** 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.

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17 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Oh boy!

7/10
Author: ElijahCSkuggs from Happy Land, who lives in a Gumdrop House on Lolly Pop Lane
26 November 2006

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.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Chickenhawk can't help out NAMBLA's case

5/10
Author: alephdance from United States
29 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am, in theory, not against cross-generational relationships (Emperor Hadrian and Antinous? Star crossed lovers!). The problem is, there just aren't many non-creepy spokesmen for NAMBLA or man/boy love in general.

"Chickenhawk" doesn't do much to dispel any of the stereotypes we have about pedophiles, and I'm not sure if it's deliberate on the part of the filmmaker or if it's the case that he just couldn't find more likable people to participate. More sympathetic pedophiles I'm sure exist out there somewhere, but they aren't in this film or anywhere in the public eye (Benjamin Britten, T.H. White, Lewis Carroll, and Plato being possible exceptions, but they are all long dead). The only guy in the documentary who seems interesting is Melzner, a teacher fired for being a NAMBLA member. It was heartening to see some of the kids at the school defending him. Here, the film does a good job of showing how not every pedophile takes advantage of children even when their job involves plenty of contact with them--just as most heterosexual men are capable of being around adult women in the workplace without resorting to sexual harassment.

For me personally it is not the actual sexual/romantic attraction these guys have for boys that is disturbing. Rather, it's the way this attraction is expressed. If the film were exactly the same, only the men were talking about sex with adult women, they'd still make me uneasy. There is just something creepy about these dudes, period. I can't imagine most boys (or anyone) enjoying the advances of these men and so I imagine being a child and feeling grossed out if any of these men approached me. Of course, this makes me less willing to believe that their sexual contacts with boys is truly consensual (although this isn't to say that I think they are all liars...it's just not so easy to understand).

If these guys could speak about their love eloquently and had likable personas, much like Oscar Wilde did, I think it would lessen the ick factor and allow us to see past the stereotypes. Yes, this is unfair since not everyone can be charming and well spoken, but when it comes to being the "face" of an organization/political movement, likability is key. If we can be attracted to the individual ourselves, we might then be able to imagine a child responding the same way. And then who knows? Maybe the idea of child consent to sex (or simply a relationship with romantic overtones) wouldn't be so impossible to imagine.

The film is interesting to watch and I'll probably see it again, but if you are looking for a film that will truly make you think about the ethics of pedophilia, this isn't it.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A chilling look into pedophile's minds.

8/10
Author: As_Cold_As_Ice from Australia
22 July 2007

*** 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.

8/10

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The best of a bad bunch

9/10
Author: jim-burton from United Kingdom
28 January 2009

*** 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.

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12 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

A truly unique documentary

5/10
Author: swekarl from Sweden
13 February 2006

It's amazing, unbelievable and moving how open the "pedophiles" in this documentary are with their sexual orientation. Pictures come to mind of Jews walking through the gates of the concentration camps, smiling. And this even before we get to listen to the murder threats on NAMBLA's answering machine while watching a smiling "pedophile" blowing kisses to us. In this respect, the documentary is indeed unique, and therefore worth watching. That said, it uses music in a pretty weird way, think requiems...

I use quotes around "pedophiles", since many of the men are attracted to adolescent boys, which to me is known as homosexuality.

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22 out of 106 people found the following review useful:

Imagine if this film had been made about black men loving white women!

Author: Chuck Dodson (chuck4@usa.net) from midwest, usa
22 November 1998

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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