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Paris Is Burning (1990)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 0

audience

89

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 3,459

My Rating

Movie Info

Poignant, well-received documentary that reveals the community of New York's minority drag queens, gay black and Latino men who cross dress as women and invent the dance style of "voguing," imitating the fashion poses on the covers of the magazine Vogue. As director Jennie Livingston discovers, her subjects band together into family-like "houses" for protection, taking the same last names and competing in drag balls where awards are given out for authenticity or "realness," as well as other

Sep 6, 2005

Academy Entertainment

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (0) | DVD (5)

Livingston is smart enough to realize that her subjects are best equipped to explain themselves.

July 10, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieMartyr.com
MovieMartyr.com

This landmark docu celebrates the resourcefulness of a group that's subcultural but not truly countercultural--its denizens long to become members of the society they imitate, operating at its periphery.

October 6, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

The beauty of the film is Livingston's nonjudgmental, accommodating camera.

September 10, 2005 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Paris Is Burning

This documentary is a beautiful time capsule of the "ball" culture of late eighties drag culture. Not only does it show the performance aspect of these intricate and flawless drag shows, but also the AIDS fueled hysteria of the time, discrimination against gay people, and the fears and doubts of these one of a kind people. Since the film was released, many of the performers have died of AIDS related illnesses, and many of their trade secrets and views on life are only evident on the celluloid that this film was printed on. The subjects of this two year documentary are fascinating because of their candor and reverence for their craft. The film is both insightful in its depiction of ball culture and thoroughly entertaining for its depth and scope.
August 8, 2014
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

A revealing (and sad) portrait of this subculture of the 1980s, it documents the balls, "houses" (or "families"), "voguing" and a "realness" competition that raises fascinating questions about what it is to be real (gay men even appear teaching women to behave like "real" women).
June 6, 2014
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

A timeless, classic LBGT film. Quite bold for its time...which I guess means it isn't exactly "timeless"....still....
June 7, 2013
cchclaw

Super Reviewer

This documentary focuses on the aspirations and culture of African American homosexuals and transsexuals.
What is interesting about this subject is the depth of the culture. Filled with nuances and its own patois, gay and transsexual culture is remarkably complex, and the film exposes all.
I can't say that I enjoyed the film because I've never been sitting in my apartment and thought, "Gee, I wonder what gay culture was like in the 80s." But that's not the film's fault.
Overall, if you've ever been sitting in your apartment thinking, "Gee, I wonder what gay culture was like in the 80s," then this is the film for you.
July 30, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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  • Paris Is Burning (DE)
  • Paris Is Burning (1990) (CA)
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