Paris Is Burning | Review

PIB

Paris Is Burning is an American documentary by Jennie Livingston on the drag/queer scene in the 1980’s in New York City. It focuses on African-American and Latino gay and transgender communities that were involved in the scene.

The film shows how the “ball” was born and how contestants would have to fit into a category and be judged on their “realness” (how well they have portrayed the category). While the judging may seem harsh at first, it comes from a loving place. Many formed “houses”, which are groups of people that form a family as they were rejected by their biological families. It also addresses the popular terms of “shade” and “reading” that, all these terms that are still used today.

Pepper LaBeija

tumblr_lf6xgcalmj1qaza14o1_500

Dorian Corey

vlcsnap-2010-10-05-00h30m53s119

Angie Xtravaganza

tumblr_mmp1txq7w61qd0d7bo1_500

Willi Ninja

Paris_Is_Burnin-WilliNinja

I found it really emotional watching, as it shows the racism, homophobia, transphobia, poverty and AIDS related issues that the drag/queer community had to deal with in a time where New York was far from accepting. The film is a must watch for anyone, but particularly people interested in drag, as it shows the true origins of a lot of the content you see in modern day drag (i.e. RuPaul’s Drag Race).

The film can be purchased on Amazon here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s