We gave it an A-
P.O.V. — ”Point of View” — begins its fourth season of opinionated documentaries with this collection of interviews profiling people who are HIV-positive. Absolutely Positive is directed and narrated by Peter Adair, who is himself infected with the AIDS virus.
The chief virtue of Adair’s film is the brisk, unsentimental approach he takes toward his subject. ”The nice thing about having a serious disease,” he notes at the start of Absolutely Positive, ”is that it’s okay to say anything you want, and people put up with it. I don’t know if it’s because they feel sorry for you or because they think, since you’re facing death, you’re somehow wiser.” Adair pauses and then adds dryly, ”Both attitudes should be encouraged, however.”
The movie offers the testimony of 11 HIV-positive people — gay and straight, wealthy and poor, resigned to their fate and deeply fearful of it. One of them, Doris Butler, found out she was HIV-positive when AIDS was diagnosed in her 6-month-old son. She says that she and her husband ”made a pact that we wouldn’t tell anyone, because” — and here her voice falters and fades to a whisper — ”people would hate us.”
The structure of the film — a straightforward series of talking-head interviews — works against Adair when his subjects aren’t forthcoming or articulate; most of the time, however, these people are filled with a brave eloquence. A-