I cannot thank my brother enough for recommending me to see this documentary flick. It is quite fascinating to see behind the scenes on New York's drag ballroom scene (race, gender, lifestyle, dancing, fashion, culture, etc.) and how honestly opened these people shared their stories during that time is important (message) to those who have pride. All which makes an 100% essential viewing for Pride Month.
"I always had hopes of being a big star... Everybody wants to make an impression, some mark upon the world. Then you think, you've made a mark on the world if you just get through it, and a few people remember your name. Then you've left a mark. You don't have to bend the whole world. I think it's better to just enjoy it. Pay your dues, and just enjoy it. If you shoot an arrow and it goes real high, hooray for you."
i love everything about this: the music, the colors, the outfits, the people, their freedom, their being unapologetically themselves, the pain in their bright smiles, their positivity no matter what, a lust and hunger for life, their nights out, their community, their sense of family, their unconditional love. wow, i'm jealous!
One of the best documentaries ever made. A significant piece of queer archival brilliance. I watched it for the first time and was in awe completely. Stellar is the editing, the curation of candid interviews, the vigour and style of the people at its heart, its story. Even as a gay man, I learnt a lot from this film. It is iconic - its influence and cultural legacy are omnipresent; its mastery effortless. It lives.
Much has already been said, but it is neat to see those shots of people just hanging out on the street on a New York summer night. (A different New York, one a little more conducive to ease.) But it's also a bit melancholy-inducing to think that so many of these people died within just a few years of the film's release, whether through AIDS or the sheer precariousness of being young, black/latinx + lgbt at that time.
When culture denies, negates, or outright opposes a group, it's only natural that the group will make a culture of their own. This vibrant doc is a scene in the words of the people who live it, welcoming an audience to understand them. The ensemble adds up to a mixture of freedom, danger, tragedy, and hope for the LGBT community at the end of the 80s. Final coup: a "normal" fashion event that seems so repressive.
Watching it at the time it felt very elegaic, in part because of what was happening in the world. However, it also might be built into a movie like this. Once a scene is ripe for a documentary, in some ways that moment is over. So I remember feeling privileged to get access to a record of something that many people found valuable, but really sad at the same time. I can't imagine what it would be like to watch now.