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.
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…
Everything you ever wanted to know about vintage drag queens from Harlem.
One of the best documentaries I've ever seen. The subjects of this film are so interesting it almost feels like a mockumentary--not because there's anything funny or comedic about it--but because the subjects are such great performers and so self-aware that they give the illusion of some higher conspiracy. This may well be the point. The film touches of a lot of social and economic issues that were prevalent in the 80s and are still very much to this day.
Through observing the intimate play and lives of drag queens and drag balls it touches on homophobia, transphobia, social hierarchy, socioeconomic inequality, racial inequality, sexism, American consumerism and the American dream. It does all of this without feeling like a…
The touches on so many aspects of life in the queer/trans scene in New York City during the AIDS crisis removes the optimism thrown to you by the likes of Jonathan Larson. It's a dark film, but a good one, and one full of community and characters that just engage and entertain.
Glitter, gays and glamour.
"We are not going to throw shade, we are going to be fierce!"
A soul-deep celebration of humanity.
A very interesting documentary on the lives of drag queens.
Its format is scattershot, but "Paris Is Burning" offers valuable insight into one of the most needlessly harassed and hated subgroups of modern culture.
Such an important film.
Still amazing documentary, by now less revealing but glowing with that light that only time lends to documents of a specific era. Still, this portrait of drag performers and gay outcasts in New York's Harlem remains relevant and vivid especially as placed within the small world of performance they built for themselves and the meanings they assigned to it. It's a bubble of self-contained purpose that nevertheless is affected by life's unrelenting intrusion (and example). Like other works that followed suit after this one, seeing the show that goes on as well as the making of and all the joy, craft, and pain that goes along with it is the stuff of great filmmaking. As they say, that's entertainment!
***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