A rather tragic view of lives trapped in rarefied opportunities to step-out amid a closed societal atmosphere of institutional protocol and vernacular. Beyond the outre, it's not an uncommon story for many of any race or sexuality, ill-afforded by situation and ambition - or lack of. A good example of diegetic documentary casting a passive eye cast on the seemingly outlandish revealing the human fragility underneath.
Rewatched it the day after attending NYC's first DragCon: a commercialized affair seemingly serving to demarginalize drag queens, their queer fans and other nonbinary people with a flair for performing arts and fashion. Interesting juxtaposition. The most tragic thing: only one person of the cast lived to see the film's 25th anniversary. Paris is burning, and the children are burning with it. Can't they just be?
I think one of the finer achievements of this documentary is the nuances it portrays its subject with, rather than focusing only on gender-bending elements. In comparison to now, it's striking to hear so many drag professional unabashedly embracing and emulating the American dream rather than strictly critiquing it. But the way it ties that to class struggles faced by poor and homeless gay youths is really brilliant.
My favourite documentary, ever. I love this not only as a queer person but as somebody who likes filmmaking and honest character based non-fiction pieces. I can't express how much I adore this film. It's hard to watch at times, but that's the reality of the subject/time. I feel for all the subjects, each and every one; they inspire me more than they could ever know.
Glorious, bitter, sassy, heart wrenching. I think this is the exact right time to use the phrase 'emotional rollercoaster' -but, Why do you gag so? She bring it to you every baawl. Paris is Burning is a really, brilliant and important piece of documentary film making from the perfectly framed shots of Dorian Corey gussying up by the stage mirror lights, to the grainy 16mm footage of the neon streets of Harlem. SOGOOD
"Everybody wants to make an impression, some mark upon the world. Then you think, you've made a mark on the world if you just get through it, and a few people remember your name. Then you've left a mark. You don't have to bend the whole world. I think it's better to just enjoy it. Pay your dues, and just enjoy it. If you shoot an arrow and it goes real high, hooray for you."
Livingston's documentary was a cultural and critical sensation on release in '90 capitalizing on vogue and drag coming into the mainstream by zeroing in on gay black culture and the 'ballroom' competitions. ver 25 years later it stands as a highly influential document of its times that foreshadowed the continuing mainstreaming of its subject matter into popular culture. Poignant, powerful and somewhat heartbreaking