Absolutely Positive

Director: Peter Adair

Institute History

  • 1991 Sundance Film Festival


I've been making films for thirty wars. When I wondered about religion,, I made a film about it (Holy Ghost People). When I found out I was gay, I made a film about it (Word Is Out). When I worried about the bomb, I made a film about it (Stooping History). This has become a very expensive form of therapy. A while ago I tested positive for the HIV rims and my doctor told me this means the chances are very strong that I'm going to get AIDS sometime . . . I decided to make a film about it. Besides, this is too good an opportunity to pass up, Cause when you have a serious disease, it's a good time to say anything you want and people put up with it.
—Peter Adair

Thus begins Absolutely Positive, an intimate look at the lives of those who belong to the largest population affected by the AIDS epidemic: the estimated 1.5 million Americans who are infected with HIV, but do not yet have AIDS. These men and women have plenty to say, and say it they do—with candor and wit, anger and tenderness, and a touch of rue. More than 120 research interviews with people who are HIV positive were conducted in order to find the eleven very-different individuals presented here. Ranging in age from seventeen to sixty, and representing an extraordinary variety of life-styles, ethnicities, geographic regions. and risk groups for AIDS, the subjects shine under the filmmakers' straightforward and empathetic gaze.

There has been little exploration of this group, and by humanizing the face of HIV, the film reaches out to tens of thousands of people throughout the country who are living in isolation and terror with known or suspected HIV infection. For all of us, it provides an opportunity to confront questions about our own mortality while experiencing a range of emotions from explosive belly laughs (there's some choice black humor) to a good cry. By presenting these lives plain and unadorned, Absolutely Positive allows us to get close to one of today's most poignant issues.

— Robert Hawk

Screening Details


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