Classic Review – Paris is Burning (1980)

This Documentary is going in my top 5.

Classic reviews are my favourite to write up because, 1. who doesn’t love a classic, and 2. I get to pick one i really love to write and share about. This one I watched recently on Netflix, go check out!! and I was blown away at how this little documentary packs so much in it. We see a culture that probably for the firs time when this was released was relevantly unknown to the wider average joe audience. We an authentic 80’s New York, it reminds me of Koyaanisqatsi, another favourite of mine, in that it captures the now, something that cannot be repeated. This is what makes it a classic.

The documentary shows an array of lively characters, their dreams and hopes and opinions, all the while showing their culture that they live in. Specifically the ball culture of the 80s in New York. Watching this film, it’s amazing to see how much of the underground culture the gay community has crafted now bleeds into the mainstream and is very much now in the open. With programs such as a Rupal’s Drag Race, what was once relatively unknown is now common knowledge and for all to engage with.

This documentary also has a tragic story line with the character of Venus Xtravaganza, which i’ll leave for you to go and watch and find out. This film is significantly important culturally and so is a documentary stable as far as I am concerned, it gives a voice for a minority that needed one at this time and provided a gateway for change in the way we perceive people, everyone is human with hopes, fears, desires and dreams at the end of the day.


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