PARIS IS BURNING
The ultimate documentary about the late 80s New York drag scene, a vivid snapshot of the underground phenomenon of houses and the beginning of voguing. Gay and trans drag queens from Black and Latin communities find shelter away from daily dangers and poverty in the warmth of balls, in a place of transformative splendour, dazzling beauty and unprecedented empowerment. A contemplative and loving portrait of their community with moving revelations by the now legendary Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey and Venus Xtravaganza. Introduction by House of Careola, accompanied by Voguing Show
USA | 1990 | COLOR | DCP | 78’ | ENGLISH
A quintessential film for gay, trans and drag culture. Filmed at the ‘Houses’ and ‘Balls’, Jennie Livingston’s work speaks openly about the people who got the smallest straw of American (not only though) capitalist reality. And this is the triumph of “Paris”: it does not merely describe a subculture and its rules, but finds the strong class consciousness of people whose nature is incriminated by a status quo which at the same time marginalizes them, steeping them in values hard to live up to. While most of them were deterministically, tragically and prematurely lost, legendary Dorian Corey’s words remain painfully indelible: ‘You cannot change the world, it’s better to take pleasure in it. Do your duty and live it. And if your arrow reaches high, well, good for you’. I.D.
DIRECTOR: Jennie Livingston
DoP: Paul Gibson
EDITOR: Jonathan Oppenheim
American director born in 1959. She studied Photography, Design and Painting at Yale, and after her uncle’s -Alan Pakula- encouragement, she took filmmaking lessons at the University of New York. This is her debut film which won, amongst others, a Teddy Award at Berlin and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
1990 Paris Is Burning