After Stonewall Reviews
What is the movie's focus is how the riots changed the world. Many of those interviewed had been part of the gay scene before the riots, too, but Stonewall redefined their world. Gay rights were suddenly an issue, with the placid, nondemonstrative groups of previous years giving forth to true activism. After Stonewall, there was the Gay Liberation Front. There was Harvey Milk. There were parades and heroes. And, inevitably, there was AIDS and the loss of a generation of potentially great gay men (lesbians have been hit much less hard by the disease, for obvious reasons). There was "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Finally, there was the lesbian chic of the '90s, when the film was made.
It's a lot to cover in 88 minutes. Necessarily, many things get touched on lighter than many others. Harvey Milk gets mentioned, but not much about him is told. Barney Frank tells some of his own story, but he doesn't get all that much more time than Harvey. The lesbian experience seems to be shown more often than that of gay men, but there isn't enough imbalance for me to get all that upset about it. There is definitely discussion of how hard it was for lesbians in the gay rights movement, where they were "just girls," and in the women's rights movement, where they were "dangerous to the cause." The final story of the movie is the struggle for gay marriage, which is still going ten years later.
Obviously, how much you like this movie is going to depend in part on your political stance. However, being as objective as possible, I think it's pretty good. There's a lot of archive footage employed here, and those interviewed are from a relatively wide swathe of the community. It's true that mostly, they're people you've heard of--Frank, for example, and Rita Mae Brown, not to mention narrator Melissa Etheride. However, they did have to find these people, and it's always easier to get in touch with the famous than to find regular folks with good stories to tell and the will to tell them. It's not a perfect film, but I think it's important.
When I reviewed [i]Before Stonewall[/i], I speculated on the changes between Stonewall and the making of [i]Before Stonewall[/i]. The two movies were made a few years apart, meaning there's less change from when it was made than when the first one was made. However, in either case, I don't think it's all that much. In some ways, indeed, we've gone backwards with the current passage of Proposition Eight. What has amazed me most about the things I've learned recently is that the only country in the world that guarantees equal rights for gays is South Africa. Gay marriage is legal there, too.
and for those of you who dont know what Stonewall is, it was pretty much considered to be the beginning of the gay rights movement. It happened back in the late 60's in june. that's why gay pride is always in late june....
ANYWAY, movie for those who dont want to read!