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.
holds up. still one of the greatest time capsule documentaries ever made
Long overdue viewing.
With one less than notable exception, I've never participated in drag culture, but in my youth I frequented many many drag events. One of which, called Lashes, I would clear my schedule for every week. For almost 2 years I never missed a show. Seeing the queens in and out of personae really was an eye opener, at 11 PM they'd be some immaculately exaggerated caricature of a woman and by 2 AM when the bars were closing they'd be all baggy jeans and baseball caps. I never really thought much of it, but going to those events must've impacted my views of masculinity.
Part of me sees Paris Is Burning through a romanticized lens; I would've…
Interesting and depressing look into 80s drag culture and the ballroom scene. It just makes me want to listen to Zebra Katz and watch some RuPaul's Drag Race.
Jennie Livingston’s Paris is Burning is a rare, special kind of documentary that also actively engages with the beautiful individuals upon which it focuses. As I’ve stated a few times before, my favorite types of docs are the ones that cover individuals who hold very specific interests, views, and (in this case) identities, momentarily inviting us into a glimpse at their lives so very different from ours. The focal point of Paris is Burning lies on the Harlem drag balls of the 1980s, which served as a creative outlet for queer/trans folks. One of the more bittersweet elements of the documentary is watching it with…
A good-but-not-great entry in the "exploring a subculture" genre of documentary, Paris is Burning focuses on the gay ballroom scene of 1980s Harlem. The specificity of the subject matter is a strength of the film, and this is a world I knew absolutely nothing about. There are some pretty fascinating themes of sexuality, race, and class running throughout the film, but they aren't its main focus. Instead, the movie focuses on the balls, and the huge variety of people who were quite passionately invested in them.
But a major problem of the genre (at least for me) is quite in evidence here: there is certainly a world here, but not really a story. Director Jennie Livingston does an admirable job…
Super charming and humanizing and fun and sad and filled with super wonderful/inspiring people in a time and place that feels special and unique. Only takes 71 minutes to feel like you're in it.
Ok from now on that's the film I'll think of whenever some sort of heedless depressing hatred reaches my ears/eyes and I need some faith to be restored. But, I could also read the film exactly the other way around, as it has been out for almost 25 years and it's still ostensibly just as relevant and essential. Problems perpetuate themselves, that's just obvious, but can we really do nothing? I'm not sure, but it feels like the minimum would be to dis Dallas Buyers Club('s representation of trans people) and make sure more people see Paris Is Burning.
P.S. I don't know how much the film really is worth but I'll leave the 5 cause fuck it now let's just dance
An interesting and sometimes saddening look into a world I know little about.
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Final Cut - Ladies & Gentlemen
- For All Mankind
- I've Heard the Mermaids Singing
- Zazie dans le métro
- Allegro non troppo
- The Adventures of Prince Achmed
***EDIT (March 30, 2014)***
Wow! I never would have expected that I'd get anywhere close to 100 likes on this…
- Meshes of the Afternoon
- Merrily We Go to Hell
- The Cabbage Patch Fairy
Films Directed or Co-Directed by Women