Paris Is Burning (1990)

PARIS IS BURNING (1990) dir. Jennie Livingston. Classic documentary about the ‘Ball’ scene in 1980s New York City, where the LGBTQ community, especially African-Americans and other minorities could celebrate each other through dance, fashion, and music, through runway style competitions. Mostly known for being a behind the scenes look at the origins of ‘Voguing’, the dance move Madonna demonstrates in her ‘Vogue’ music video. Comprised of interviews with dozens of people, and footage of the balls, it’s a fascinating look into this 1980s subculture, which continues today. The overwhelming emotion of the film is an optimistic feeling that love will prevail, and that community and culture can fill the gaps that hate and prejudice create. Some tragic turns in the lives of the interviewees are impossible to forget. Should be mandatory viewing for any fans of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’, or the Netflix ‘POSE’ series.