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Paris Is Burning (1991)

Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade? This landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City's African American and Latinx Harlem drag-ball scene. Made over seven years, PARIS IS BURNING offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion "houses," from fierce contests for trophies to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia, transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Featuring legendary voguers, drag queens, and trans women — including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, and Venus Xtravaganza.
5.0 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
4.5 / 5
MOVIE SCORE
Representation
LGBTQ

Incluvie Movie Reviews


Incluvie Writer
June 25, 2021
5 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
4.5 / 5
MOVIE SCORE

Paris is Burning: 30 Years Later

Since it’s Pride Month, I decided to look at a documentary that has been both influential and controversial in the LGBTQ+ community. Paris is Burning is a documentary about drag and ballroom culture in New York City in the late 1980s. Filming many ballroom performances and following the lives of these performers, director Jennie Livingston found success at the Sundance Film Festival and got picked up by Miramax. While the answer is two sides of the same coin, both sides are worth talking about. One side is the introduction of drag-ball to a mainstream audience. Paris is Burning helped shows like Pose, Legendary, and Rupaul’s Drag Race to make their way to television. RPDR even pays homage to the film by referencing it in the beloved “reading” challenge. On the other hand, it serves as an example of a White director receiving success from their film while the vulnerable groups that were portrayed (trans-feminine, QTPOC, and more) ended up unfairly compensated, sometimes ending their lives in poverty or worse, murdered. While the film did some good, it also did some bad.
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Movie Information


Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade? This landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City's African American and Latinx Harlem drag-ball scene. Made over seven years, PARIS IS BURNING offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion "houses," from fierce contests for trophies to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia, transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Featuring legendary voguers, drag queens, and trans women — including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, and Venus Xtravaganza.

Rating:
Genre:Documentary
Directed By:Jennie Livingston
Written By:
In Theaters:3/13/1991
Box Office:$3,779,620
Runtime:71 minutes
Studio:Miramax

Cast