Doesn't the title of the list explain it well enough? This is a list of 200+ quality "short" films. Easy…
Paris is Burning
Paris Is Burning is a 1990 documentary (directeor Jennie Livingston) filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, chronicling the ball culture of New York City and the poor, African American and Latino gay and transgendered community involved in it. Many consider Paris Is Burning to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the "Golden Age" of New York City drag balls and exploration of queer culture
Paris is Burning, Jeannie Livingston’s poignant and illuminating documentary, focuses on the underground Harlem drag-ball scene of the late 1980s before it was repackaged for the mainstream. I love documentaries like this, those that explore a unique subculture specific to a particular time and place. Whilst I knew Madonna borrowed ‘voguing’ from the New York drag scene I knew very little about this niche gathering.
Livingston’s film evocatively chronicles the period as the LGBT community meet at flamboyant balls to compete in competitions and runway face-offs. Following a handful of participants, the documentary explores the rules and lingo of the subculture as we learn about the importance of the balls in the lives of those that take part. From the…
As a trans-woman twirls around on a sandy beach, the wind seemingly on the verge of whisking her away, she sings "I am my oooown creation!" I couldn't help but smile as my heart swelled.
It is a damn shame that Jennie Livingston hasn't continued directing films. Paris is Burning is an incredible documentary which has served as a guide of sorts to drag queens for the past 24 years. You can not watch RuPaul's Drag Race without hearing the words: shade, reading, fierce or xtravaganza at least a dozen times...each episode. Drag mothers and houses are still very much a common practice, providing families and support to those who have been cast out of their homes for being gay.…
Exactly two years ago I drank a lot of coconut rum and ended up lying on the floor of my apartment at 2 AM, watching Paris Is Burning on Netflix. (I threw up all the next day.) Last year I did it again, albeit drinking much less, and now tonight it's the third January 17 in a row I've observed this tradition. I hope I watch it again a year from now, too, because if any movie should be an annual experience it's Paris Is Burning, the documentary I hold most dear.
One of the things that is lost when even productions "with their hearts in the right place" cast cisgender actors as trans characters is the notion, the very idea that trans people can be beautiful. By casting even an attractive, not altogether masculine actor like Andrew Garfield as a transwoman, even the sympathetic, ostensibly progressive voices out there reinforce that there is something "different" about trans people, and things like Arcade Fire's "We Exist" video or DALLAS BUYERS CLUB ultimately do not deserve credit for moving the discussion forward when it moves from "Ew, what freaks!" to, "Hey, it doesn't matter if they're freaks."
One of the things that PARIS IS BURNING makes abundantly clear is that all those queer…
God, please just let us celebrate while we're here. Let us dance and open up the world to one another. We want to live out our dreams and be the people who we always wanted to be. We'll reach for that safe place where we can exist and let everything else fall out of vision. This hyper awareness of appearance, actions and danger should rest long enough so we can move to song. An opening in a void where everything isn't pitch black so we can come out and shout who we are. We're Xtravaganza and we're proud. And we live hand in hand without the worry of a real world. Everything's a ball and we'd vogue for hours into the sunlight and walk home safely and rest like everyone else, and when dusk comes around again we'd do it once more with no fear of rejection, personhood or danger. We'd be home. If only for a moment.
In another world, a world in the undercarriage of this one, there are whole other constellations nobody has ever seen, and there are queens and princesses nobody has ever heard of, and there are different saints and scholars, and there are different angels, and one of them is Venus Xtravaganza.
Paris Is Burning is gritty, magnificent, heartbreaking, a megaton blast of fully-realized potential. It's life worn down to its boniest extremity, where we see nothing but its furious insistence upon continuing to exist and shine.
Jennie Livingston' s movie succeeds by just allowing her subjects to be who they are and talk about what they care about. An approach that had proved successful for Earl Morris in GATES OF HEAVEN (though Morris' subjects wandered much farther afield). There's an undercurrent of danger and risk, displacement and isolation that lends an urgency to even seemingly frivolous pursuits.
i don't even know what to say. out of the few documentaries i've seen this is my favorite.
Meticulously crafted, both in terms of editing and control over the handheld footage, all culminating to achieve a lucid and immersive experience. This is a subculture documentary of great depth that explores all the finer details about ball culture while effortlessly tieing everything back to wider themes of identity, memory, performance and dreams. Oh also it's fucking beautiful.
This is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen in my life , it shows how life truly is in its purest form for the people in that movement and how some parts are still relevant today .
she give it to you every ball!
a must-watch for any queer person. know your "ancestors".
A fascinating look at the Harlem drag balls of the 1980s, a unique subculture of the LGBT community. Watching the film, which was released in 1990, underscores the tremendous societal changes of the past 25 years.
I'm not usually one for documentaries, but this was incredible.
***EDIT (March 30, 2014)***
Wow! I never would have expected that I'd get anywhere close to 100 likes on this…
Films Directed or Co-Directed by Women